Evaluation of Seat Back Strength and Seat Belt Effectiveness in Rear End Impacts
The issues of front seat energy absorption and seat belt effectiveness are investigated first through the review of prior experimental and analytical studies of rear impact dynamics. These prior studies indicate that the current energy absorption characteristic of seats is a safety benefit. Prior efforts to construct a rigidized seat indicate that such designs are likely to be impractical due to excessive weight and cost. Additionally, these studies indicate that seat belts provide an important safety function in rear impacts. Static tests of production seats were conducted, added to an existing data base, and analyzed to better understand the strength and energy absorbing characteristics of production seats. Crash test results from the New Car Assessment Program as well as earlier test programs were analyzed to describe the response of occupants and seats in rear impact and the protective function of seat belts in such collisions.