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Technical Paper

Fracture-Dislocation of the Thoracic Spine in Extension by Upright Seats in Severe Rear Crashes

2011-04-12
2011-01-0274
Purpose: This study presents cases of fracture-dislocation of the thoracic spine in extension during severe rear impacts. The mechanism of injury was investigated. Methods: Four crashes were investigated where a lap-shoulder-belted, front-seat occupant experienced fracture-dislocation of the thoracic spine and paraplegia in a severe rear impact. Police, investigator and medical records were reviewed, the vehicle was inspected and the seat detrimmed. Vehicle dynamics, occupant kinematics and injury mechanisms were determined in this case study. Results: Each case involved a lap-shoulder-belted occupant in a high retention seat with ≻1,700 Nm moment or ≻5.5 kN strength for rearward loading. The crashes were offset rear impacts with 40-56 km/h delta V involving under-ride or override by the impacting vehicle and yaw of the struck vehicle. In each case, the occupant's pelvis was restrained on the seat by the open perimeter frame of the seatback and lap belt.
Technical Paper

Rear Impact Tests of Starcraft-Type Seats with Out-of-Position and In-Position Dummies

2011-04-12
2011-01-0272
Objective: This study analyzed available rear impact sled tests with Starcraft-type seats that use a diagonal belt behind the seatback. The study focused on neck responses for out-of-position (OOP) and in-position seated dummies. Methods: Thirteen rear sled tests were identified with out-of-position and in-position 5 th , 50 th and 95 th Hybrid III dummies in up to 47.6 mph rear delta Vs involving Starcraft-type seats. The tests were conducted at Ford, Exponent and CSE. Seven KARCO rear sled tests were found with in-position 5 th and 50 th Hybrid III dummies in 21.1-29.5 mph rear delta Vs involving Starcraft-type seats. In all of the in-position and one of the out-of-position series, comparable tests were run with production seats. Biomechanical responses of the dummies and test videos were analyzed.
Journal Article

Basilar Skull Fractures by Crash Type and Injury Source

2011-04-12
2011-01-1126
Purpose: This study investigates NASS-CDS data on basilar skull fractures by crash type and injury source for various crash scenarios to understand the injury risks, injury mechanisms and contact sources. Methods: 1993-2008 NASS-CDS data was used to study basilar skull fractures in adult front occupants by crash type and injury source. Injury risks were determined using weighted data for occupants with known injury status in 1994+ model year vehicles. In-depth analysis was made of far-side occupants in side impacts and rear crashes using the NASS electronic cases. Results: Basilar skull fractures occur in 0.507 ± 0.059% of rollovers and 0.255 ± 0.025% of side impacts. The lowest risk is in rear impacts at 0.015 ± 0.007%. The most common contact source is the roof, side rails and header (39.0%) in rollovers, the B-pillar (25.8%) in side impacts and head restraint (55.3%) in rear crashes.
Technical Paper

Stiff versus Yielding Seats: Analysis of Matched Rear Impact Tests

2007-04-16
2007-01-0708
The objective of this study was to analyze available anthropomorphic test device (ATD) responses from KARCO rear impact tests and to evaluate an injury predictive model based on crash severity and occupant weight presented by Saczalski et al. (2004). The KARCO tests were carried out with various seat designs. Biomechanical responses were evaluated in speed ranges of 7-12, 13-17, 18-23 and 24-34 mph. For this analysis, all tests with matching yielding and stiff seats and matching occupant size and weight were analyzed for cases without 2nd row occupant interaction. Overall, the test data shows that conventional yielding seats provide a high degree of safety for small to large adult occupants in rear crashes; this data is also consistent with good field performance as found in NASS-CDS. Saczalski et al.'s (2004) predictive model of occupant injury is not correct as there are numerous cases from NASS-CDS that show no or minor injury in the region where serious injury is predicted.
Technical Paper

Field Accident Data Analysis of 2nd Row Children and Individual Case Reviews

2008-05-12
2008-01-1851
Child safety is an important issue. The objective of this study was to analyze field accident data for 0-7 year old children in the 2nd row by vehicle and crash type, irrespective of restraint use. The data was obtained from NASS-CDS for calendar years 1991-2005. Accidents were selected based on 2nd row occupancy in towaway light vehicles with model year 1990 or newer. Side impacts caused 30.9% of serious-to-fatal injury (MAIS 3+F) to 2nd row children followed by frontal impacts (29.8%), rollovers (24.4%) and rear crashes (15.0%). The highest risk for MAIS 3+F was in rollovers (2.8 ± 0.7%) followed by rear (1.4 ± 0.4%), side (1.0 ± 0.2%) and frontal (0.46 ± 0.10%) crashes. The differences are statistically significant (p <0.01). Individual rear and frontal impact cases were also reviewed to better understand injury mechanisms of children in the 2nd row. The cases were obtained from the 1997-2005 NASS-CDS electronic database.
Technical Paper

Fatalities by Seating Position and Principal Direction of Force (PDOF) for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Row Occupants

2008-05-12
2008-01-1850
Purpose: A better understanding of rear occupant fatality risks is needed to guide the development of safety improvements for 2nd and 3rd row occupants. This study investigates fatal accidents of 1st, 2nd and 3rd row occupants by principal direction of force (PDOF), irrespective of restraint use. It determined the number of fatalities, exposure and fatality risk. Methods: 1996-2005 FARS was analyzed for occupant fatalities by seating position (1st, 2nd and 3rd row) and principal direction of force (1-12 o'clock PDOF, rollover and other/unknown). Light vehicles were included with model year 1990+. 1996-2005 NASS-CDS was similarly analyzed for occupant exposure. Fatality risk was defined as the number of fatalities in FARS for a given category divided by the exposure from NASS-CDS. Results: Ten percent (9.6%) of fatalities were to 2nd row occupants in FARS. About 2,080 deaths occur to 2nd row occupants annually. 38.4% died in rollovers and 26.8% in frontal crashes.
Technical Paper

Motorized Shoulder Belt Tensioning: Modeling and Performance for a Diverse Occupant Population

2008-04-14
2008-01-0515
Motorized shoulder belt tensioning is an occupant protection technology that has promise to reduce automotive crash injuries. The objective of this study was to model the response of a diverse forward-leaning occupant population (6-year-old child, 5th female, 50th male, 95th male) to shoulder belt tensioning during straight line pre-crash braking. The lumped mass model was based on experimental volunteer data for motorized shoulder belt tensioning gathered in a previous quasistatic study. The three dimensional model incorporated the biomechanical properties of the occupant populations, a motorized shoulder belt tensioner (DC motor and controller) and shoulder belt webbing models. Model validation was achieved against the volunteer experiments for angular torso position, torso velocity and shoulder belt moment applied to the torso.
Journal Article

The Hybrid III Dummy Family Subject to Loading by a Motorized Shoulder Belt Tensioner

2008-04-14
2008-01-0516
Motorized shoulder belt tensioning is a new automotive seatbelt technology which has shown promise to reduce automotive crash injuries. The current study was conducted to determine if the Hybrid III family of dummies is an appropriate biofidelic surrogate for studying motorized shoulder belt tensioning. The objective was to measure torso retraction time, torso position, torso velocity, internal resistive moment, changes in torso curvature and the center of rotation of torso extension during seatbelt tensioning for the Hybrid III family. A previous study developed a protocol and test fixture to measure the biomechanics of volunteers subject to quasi-static loading by a motorized shoulder belt tensioner. A fixture supported the occupant leaning forward and applied shoulder belt tension. Kinematics were quantified by analyzing the motion of reflective markers on the dummy using an eight camera digital video system. A three axis load cell measured internal resistance to extension.
Technical Paper

Crash Injury Risks for Obese Occupants

2008-04-14
2008-01-0528
Obesity rates are reaching an epidemic worldwide. In the US, nearly 40 million people are obese. The automotive safety community is starting to question the impact of obesity on occupant protection. This study investigates fatality and serious injury risks for front-seat occupants by Body Mass Index (BMI). NASS-CDS data was analyzed for calendar years 1993-2004. Occupant exposure and injury was divided in seven BMI categories with obese defined as those with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2. Injuries were studied for drivers and right-front passengers and included analysis of lap-shoulder belted and unbelted occupants. The results show that obese occupants have a higher fatality risk compared to normal BMI occupants; morbidly obese occupants (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) have 2.25 times higher fatality risk (1.15% v 0.51%). The fatality risk for belted obese drivers was 0.29%, which was 6.7 times lower than the 1.94% for those unbelted. These rates are similar to other BMI occupants.
Journal Article

Vehicle and Occupant Responses in a Friction Trip Rollover Test

2009-04-20
2009-01-0830
Objective: A friction rollover test was conducted as part of a rollover sensing project. This study evaluates vehicle and occupant responses in the test. Methods: A flat dolly carried a Saab 9-3 sedan laterally, passenger-side leading to a release point at 42 km/h (26 mph) onto a high-friction surface. The vehicle was equipped with roll, pitch and yaw gyros near the center of gravity. Accelerometers were placed at the vehicle center tunnel, A-pillar near the roof, B-pillar near the sill, suspension sub-frame and wheels. Five off-board and two on-board cameras recorded kinematics. Hybrid III dummies were instrumented for head and chest acceleration and upper neck force and moment. Belt loads were measured. Results: The vehicle release caused the tires and then wheel rims to skid on the high-friction surface. The trip involved roll angular velocities >300 deg/s at 0.5 s and a far-side impact on the driver’s side roof at 0.94 s. The driver was inverted in the far-side, ground impact.
Technical Paper

Front-Seat Occupant Injuries in Rear Impacts: Analysis of the Seatback Incline Variable in NASS-CDS

2009-04-20
2009-01-1200
Objective: This study addresses severe injury risks in rear impacts for front-outboard occupants using the seatback incline variable in NASS-CDS. Methods: Severe injury risk (MAIS 4+F) was determined for front-seat occupants in rear impacts involving passenger cars from 1995–2006 NASS-CDS data. The risk of severe injury to front-seat occupants was determined as a function of the rotated position of the seatback and crash severity in three delta V ranges: <20, 20–30, >30 mph. The data was also analyzed for newer model vehicles (≥1997 MY) to assess changes with newer seats and head restraints. The effects of seatbelt use, occupant age and BMI (Body Mass Index) were also examined. Individual NASS-CDS electronic cases were also reviewed with MAIS 4+F injury. There were 25 injured occupants in rotated seats and 46 in non-rotated seats. Results: Severe injury risk for front-seat occupants in rear impacts is lower with a rotated seatback in the most severe rear crashes.
Technical Paper

Influence of Seating Position on Dummy Responses with ABTS Seats in Severe Rear Impacts

2009-04-20
2009-01-0250
Objective: This study analyzes rear sled tests with a 95th% male and 5th% female Hybrid III dummy in various seating positions on ABTS (All Belt to Seat) seats in severe rear impact tests. Dummy interactions with the deforming seatback and upper body extension around the seat frame are considered. Methods: The 1st series involved an open sled fixture with a Sebring ABTS seat at 30 mph rear delta V. A 95th% Hybrid III dummy was placed in four different seating positions: 1) normal, 2) leaning inboard, 3) leaning forward and inboard, and 4) leaning forward and outboard. The 2nd series used a 5th% female Hybrid III dummy in a Grand Voyager body buck at 25 mph rear delta V. The dummy was leaned forward and inboard on a LeSabre ABTS or Voyager seat. The 3rd series used a 5th% female Hybrid III dummy in an Explorer body buck at 26 mph rear delta V. The dummy was leaned forward and inboard on a Sebring ABTS or Explorer seat.
Journal Article

Front Seat Performance in Rear Impacts: Effect on 1st and 2nd Row Occupant Injury

2009-04-20
2009-01-0252
Purpose: This study analyzes the effect of front seat performance on occupant injury in rear crashes where there is a 2nd row passenger seated behind the front occupant. Methods: The study was carried out for rear impact crashes in the 1991–2006 NASS-CDS. Only cases where there was a 2nd row occupant seated behind an occupied front seat were chosen. Serious injury (MAIS 3+F) was determined for the front and 2nd row occupants. The performance of the front seat was determined using eight NASS-CDS investigator categories, including no failure, seat failure of the adjuster, seatback or track-anchor and seat deformation by the occupant or intrusion. The rear crashes were subdivided into four severities (<15, 15–25, 25–45 and >45 mph). The risk for serious injury was determined for each category of seat performance. Next, individual cases were reviewed from the online NASS electronic files to better understand the determination of seat performance by the NASS-CDS investigators.
Technical Paper

Fatal Crashes of Female Drivers Wearing Safety Belts

1996-02-01
960459
Fatal crash circumstances for 48 belted female drivers were studied in-depth and compared to those of 83 belted male drivers in a similar population of vehicles. Women had a higher incidence of crashes on slippery roads, during lane changes and passing maneuvers than men who had a higher rate of aggressive driving and speed related crashes (χ2 = 10.47, p < 0.001). Driver-side damage was significantly more frequent in female than male crashes (χ2 = 5.74, p < 0.025) and women had a higher fraction of side impacts (45.9% v 31.4%) and crashes during daylight (87.0% v 72.3%, χ2 = 3.65, p < 0.05) than men. Women also had a higher fraction of potentially avoidable crashes than men (57.5% v 39.0%) and a lower involvement related to aggressive driving (10.6% v 25.6%). These differences were statistically significant (χ2 = 5.41, p < 0.025).
Technical Paper

Crash Causation: A Case Study of Fatal Accident Circumstances and Configurations

1996-02-01
960458
The causes for 131 fatal crashes of lap-shoulder belted occupants were analyzed for crash causation and avoidance opportunities. Fourteen crash scenarios were determined to depict the situation and circumstance of the accidents. Each scenario is discussed in relation to driver age, actions, behavior, errors and aggressiveness, as well as crash type and other factors influencing the crash. Nearly a third of crashes involved a rapid, unpredictable onset by reckless action or mistake of another driver. The remainder were caused by the driver of the case-vehicle. Some were single vehicle crashes primarily related to excessive speed, aggressive driving, and drifting out of lane. The others were multi-vehicle crashes due primarily to inadvertent errors. The most common errors were right-of-way violations at an intersection, loss of control on wet roads, impact of a stationary vehicle, and lane changing errors.
Technical Paper

Significance of Intersection Crashes for Older Drivers

1996-02-01
960457
As the driving population ages, there is a need to understand the accident patterns of older drivers. Previous research has shown that side impact collisions, usually at an intersection, are a serious problem for the older driver in terms of injury outcome. This study compares the frequency of side impact, intersection collisions of different driver age groups using state and national police-reported accident data as well as an in-depth analysis of cases from a fatal accident study. All data reveal that the frequency of intersection crashes increases with driver age. The state and national data show that older drivers have an increase frequency of intersection crashes involving vehicles crossing paths prior to the collision compared to their involvement in all crash types. When taking into account traffic control devices at an intersection, older drivers have the greatest involvement of multiple vehicle crashes at a signed intersection.
Technical Paper

Effectiveness of High-Retention Seats in Preventing Fatality: Initial Results and Trends

2003-03-03
2003-01-1351
In 1995, new seat specifications were adopted by GM to provide high retention and improve occupant safety in rear crashes. With more than five years of phase-in of high retention (HR) seats, an analysis of FARS was undertaken to determine the initial field performance of HR seats in preventing fatalities. The 1991-2000 FARS was sorted for fatal rear-impacted vehicles. Using a VIN decoder, GM vehicles with HR front seats were sorted from those with baseline (pre-HR) seats. The fatal rear-impacted vehicle crashes were subdivided into several groups for analysis: 1) single-vehicle rear impacts, 2) two-vehicle rear crashes involving light striking vehicles, and 3) two-vehicle crashes involving heavy trucks and tractor-trailers, and multi-vehicle (3+) rear crashes.
Technical Paper

Energy Transfer to an Occupant in Rear Crashes: Effect of Stiff and Yielding Seats

2003-03-03
2003-01-0180
For several decades, there has been a debate on the safety merits of yielding and rigidized (stiff) seats. In 1995, GM adopted requirements for high retention seats and introduced a new generation of yielding seatbacks. These seats have the same stiffness as the yielding seats of the 1980s and early 1990s, but have a strong frame structure and recliners to substantially limit seatback rotation in severe rear crashes. The yielding behavior is given by compliance of the seat suspension across the side structures and an open perimeter frame, which allows the occupant to penetrate into the seatback. The purpose of this study is to compare the energy transfer characteristics and occupant dynamics of yielding and stiff seats in 35 km/h and 16 km/h rear crashes. Based on benchmarking tests, the stiff seatback is defined as one having a 40 kN/m stiffness in rearward loading by a Hybrid dummy.
Technical Paper

Case Study of Vehicle Maneuvers Leading to Rollovers: Need for a Vehicle Test Simulating Off-Road Excursions, Recovery and Handling

2003-03-03
2003-01-0169
Rollovers are an important vehicle safety issue. Various technologies have been developed to help prevent rollovers from occurring, but the evaluation of rollover resistance typically involves vehicle-handling tests that are conducted on flat road surfaces with a uniform or split coefficient of friction. The purpose of this study is to determine the precipitating events leading to rollovers by analyzing real-world rollover crashes. This is a first step in identifying and developing vehicle tests that are representative of the principal driving scenarios leading to rollovers. The sequence of events leading to rollovers was determined from 63 in-depth investigated cases in the NASS-CDS database from 1995-1999. The sequence was evaluated by vehicle maneuvers, vehicle stability, surface type, road and shoulder transition condition, posted and estimated speeds, vehicle type and driver injury severity.
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