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Technical Paper


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acquires detailed engineering information on new and rapidly changing technologies in real world crashes utilizing the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS CDS), Special Crash Investigations (SCI) and Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) programs. The data are used by NHTSA, the automotive industry and consumer groups to evaluate the performance of motor vehicles in crashes. Currently, the primary metric used to represent crash severity in NHTSA programs is the delta in velocity (DV). The principle source for the DV estimates in the NHTSA programs is a computer algorithm. The reconstruction computer program has a number of limitations. As a result, only about 38 percent of the NASS cases have reported DV. Beginning with its 1994 model year vehicles, General Motors (GM) began producing a fleet of vehicles that recorded the DV.
Technical Paper

The Use of the Mobile Tire Traction Dynamometer in Research

The Mobile Tire Traction Dynamometer measures the braking and cornering traction of passenger car tires on outdoor pavements at highway speeds. Its hydrostatic wheel speed control system, wheel loading and positioning system, pavement wetting system, transducers and instrumentation are described in detail. The data processing methods for its several test modes are explained. Results of experiments (1) to determine the effect of the rate of change of slip on the peak braking coefficient, (2) to identify filters suitable for peak braking coefficient measurement, (3) to determine the effect of the rate of change of slip angle on the lateral force coefficient, and (4) to explore various pavement friction testing methods are included as examples of the use of this testing device.
Technical Paper

NHTSA's Rollover Rulemaking Program - Results of Testing and Analysis

This paper attempts to define and measure factors related to a vehicle's performance that are influential in the causation of rollover accidents. Data are presented which define the rollover involvement rates for many non-vehicular factors. A brief description of the vehicle metrics and the analysis procedures used in the rollover prevention rulemaking program are included along with a set of conclusions. The program evaluated many vehicle metrics related to vehicle rollover, analyzed accidents from 5 states, and compared the two data bases by testing “cause and effect” hypotheses by performing statistical regressions to determine levels of correlation. Location of the crash, urban vs. rural, was a strong predictor of the crash outcome - that is, rollover or non-rollover. Vehicle class and single vehicle accident rate were also statistically significant, as well as, whether or not the vehicle was equipped with anti-lock brakes. Several other driver demographics were significant.
Technical Paper

Has Electronic Stability Control Reduced Rollover Crashes?

Vehicle rollovers are one of the more severe crash modes in the US - accounting for 32% of all passenger vehicle occupant fatalities annually. One design enhancement to help prevent rollovers is Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which can reduce loss of control and thus has great promise to enhance vehicle safety. The objectives of this research were (1) to estimate the effectiveness of ESC in reducing the number of rollover crashes and (2) to identify cases in which ESC did not prevent the rollover to potentially advance additional ESC development. All passenger vehicles and light trucks and vans that experienced a rollover from 2006 to 2015 in the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Database System (NASS/CDS) were analyzed. Each rollover was assigned a crash scenario based on the crash type, pre-crash maneuver, and pre-crash events.
Technical Paper

Analysis of Event Data Recorder Survivability in Crashes with Fire, Immersion, and High Delta-V

Event data recorders (EDRs) must survive regulatory frontal and side compliance crash tests if installed within a car or light truck built on or after September 1, 2012. Although previous research has shown that EDR data are surviving these tests, little is known about whether EDRs are capable of surviving collisions of higher delta-v, or crashes involving vehicle fire or immersion. The goal of this study was to determine the survivability of light vehicle EDRs in real world fire, immersion, and high change in velocity (delta-v) cases. The specific objective was to identify the frequency of these extreme events and to determine the EDR data download outcome when subject to damage caused by these events. This study was performed using three crash databases: the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the National Automotive Sampling System / Crashworthiness Data System (NASS/CDS), and the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS).
Technical Paper

Survivability of Event Data Recorder Data in Exposure to High Temperature, Submersion, and Static Crush

Event data recorder (EDR) data are currently only required to survive the crash tests specified by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 and FMVSS 214. Although these crash tests are severe, motor vehicles are also exposed to more severe crashes, fire, and submersion. Little is known about whether current EDR data are capable of surviving these events. The objective of this study was to determine the limits of survivability for EDR data for realistic car crash conditions involving heat, submersion, and static crush. Thirty-one (31) EDRs were assessed in this study: 4 in the pilot tests and 27 in the production tests. The production tests were conducted on model year (MY) 2011-2012 EDRs enclosed in plastic, metal, or a combination of both materials. Each enclosure type was exposed to 9 tests. The high temperature tests were divided into 3 oven testing conditions: 100°C, 150°C, and 200°C.
Journal Article

Validation of Event Data Recorders in High Severity Full‑Frontal Crash Tests

This study evaluates the accuracy of 41 Event Data Recorders (EDR) extracted from model year 2012 General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Toyota, and Volvo vehicles subjected to New Car Assessment Program 56 kph full-frontal barrier crash tests. The approach was to evaluate (1) the vehicle longitudinal change in velocity or delta-V (ΔV) as measured by EDRs in comparison with the high-precision accelerometers mounted onboard test vehicles and (2) the accuracy of pre-crash speed, seatbelt buckle status, and frontal airbag deployment status. On average the absolute error for pre-crash speed between the EDR and reference instrumentation was only 0.58 kph, or 1.0% of the nominal impact speed. In all cases in which the EDRs recorded the seatbelt buckle status of the driver or right front passenger, the modules correctly reported that the occupants were buckled. EDRs reported airbag deployment correctly in all of the tests.
Journal Article

Method for Estimating Time to Collision at Braking in Real-World, Lead Vehicle Stopped Rear-End Crashes for Use in Pre-Crash System Design

This study presents a method for determining the time to collision (TTC) at which a driver of the striking vehicle in a real-world, lead vehicle stopped (LVS) rear-end collision applied the brakes. The method employs real-world cases that were extracted from the National Automotive Sampling System / Crashworthiness Data System (NASS / CDS) years 2000 to 2009. Selected cases had an Event Data Recorder (EDR) recovered from the striking vehicle that contained pre-crash vehicle speed and brake application. Of 59 cases with complete EDR records, 12 cases (20%) of drivers appeared not to apply the brakes at all prior to the collision. The method was demonstrated using 47 rear-end cases in which there was driver braking. The average braking deceleration for those cases with sufficient vehicle speed information was found to be 0.52 g's. The average TTC that braking was initiated at was found to vary in the sample population from 1.1 to 1.4 seconds.
Technical Paper

Crash Severity: A Comparison of Event Data Recorder Measurements with Accident Reconstruction Estimates

The primary description of crash severity in most accident databases is vehicle delta-V. Delta-V has been traditionally estimated through accident reconstruction techniques using computer codes, e.g. Crash3 and WinSmash. Unfortunately, delta-V is notoriously difficult to estimate in many types of collisions including sideswipes, collisions with narrow objects, angled side impacts, and rollovers. Indeed, approximately 40% of all delta-V estimates for inspected vehicles in the National Automotive Sampling System / Crashworthiness Data System (NASS/CDS) 2001 are reported as unknown. The Event Data Recorders (EDRs), now being installed as standard equipment by several automakers, have the potential to provide an independent measurement of crash severity which avoids many of the difficulties of accident reconstruction techniques. This paper evaluates the feasibility of replacing delta-V estimates from accident reconstruction with the delta-V recorded by EDRs.