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Technical Paper

Vehicle Design Implications of the Turner Proposal

The implications of restricting axle loads to preserve pavements while at the same time allowing gross combination weights over 80,000 pounds are examined with respect to the design qualities of the types of heavy trucks that might be developed. The proposed vehicles would have more axles than current designs thereby achieving higher gross combination weights with smaller axle loads. Design factors influencing mobility, productivity, preservation of the highway infrastructure, and performance in safety-related maneuvers are discussed.
Technical Paper

Variability in Center of Gravity Height Measurement

A round-robin center of gravity height measurement study was conducted to assess current practice in the measurement of the vertical position of the center of gravity (c.g.) of light truck-type vehicles. The study was performed by UMTRI for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. The laboratories participating in the study were those of Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The primary objectives of this study were (i) to determine to what extent the differing experimental procedures used by the participating laboratories at the time of the study result in significant differences in the measured vertical position of the center of mass of light truck-type vehicles, and (ii) to gain insight into the physical causes of such differences.
Technical Paper

Upper-Extremity Injuries From Steering Wheel Airbag Deployments

In a review of 540 crashes in which the steering-wheel airbag deployed, 38% of the drivers sustained some level of upper extremity injury. The majority of these were AIS-1 injuries including abrasions, contusions and small lacerations. In 18 crashes the drivers sustained AIS-2 or-3 level upper extremity injuries, including fractures of the radius and/or ulna, or of the metacarpal bones, all related to airbag deployments. It was determined that six drivers sustained the fracture(s) directly from the deploying airbag or the airbag module cover. The remaining 12 drivers had fractures from the extremity being flung into interior vehicle structures, usually the instrument panel. Most drivers were taller than 170 cm and, of the 18 drivers, 10 were males.
Technical Paper

Upper Extremity Injuries Related to Air Bag Deployments

From our crash investigations of air bag equipped passenger cars, a subset of upper extremity injuries are presented that are related to air bag deployments. Minor hand, wrist or forearm injuries-contusions, abrasions, and sprains are not uncommonly reported. Infrequently, hand fractures have been sustained and, in isolated cases, fractures of the forearm bones or of the thumb and/or adjacent hand. The close proximity of the forearm or hand to the air bag module door is related to most of the fractures identified. Steering wheel air bag deployments can fling the hand-forearm into the instrument panel, rearview mirror or windshield as indicated by contact scuffs or tissue debris or the star burst (spider web) pattern of windshield breakage in front of the steering wheel.
Technical Paper

Underride in Fatal Rear-End Truck Crashes

For the 1997 data year, UMTRI's Center for National Truck Statistics collected data on rear underride as part of its Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents (TIFA) survey. Data collected included whether the truck had a rear underride guard, whether the striking vehicle underrode the truck, and how much underride occurred. A primary goal was to evaluate rear underride of straight trucks. Overall, 453 medium and heavy trucks were struck in the rear by a nontruck vehicle in a fatal crash in 1997. Some underride occurred in at least 272 (60.0%) of the rear-end crashes. For straight trucks, there was some underride in 77 (52.0%) of the crashes, no underride occurred in 43 (29.1%) of the fatal rear-end crashes, and underride could not be determined in the remaining 28 (18.9%) straight truck rear-end crashes. Despite the fact that three-fourths of tractor combinations had an underride guard on the trailer, underride was more common for tractor combinations.
Technical Paper

UMTRI Experimental Techniques in Head Injury Research

This paper discusses techniques developed and used by the Biosciences Group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) for measuring three-dimensional head motion, skull bone strain, epidural pressure, and internal brain motion of repressurized cadavers and Rhesus monkeys during head impact. In the experimental design, a stationary test subject is struck by a guided moving impactor of 10 kg (monkeys) and 25 or 65 kg (cadavers). The impactor striking surface is fitted with padding to vary the contact force-time characteristics. The experimental technique uses a nine-accelerometer system rigidly affixed to the skull to measure head motion, transducers placed at specific points below the skull to record epidural pressure, repressurization of both the vascular and cerebrospinal systems, and high-speed cineradiography (at 1000 frames per second) of radiopaque targets.
Technical Paper

The Tolerance of the Human Hip to Dynamic Knee Loading

Based on an analysis of the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) database from calendar years 1995-2000, over 30,000 fractures and dislocations of the knee-thigh-hip (KTH) complex occur in frontal motor-vehicle crashes each year in the United States. This analysis also shows that the risk of hip injury is generally higher than the risks of knee and thigh injuries in frontal crashes, that hip injuries are occurring to adult occupants of all ages, and that most hip injuries occur at crash severities that are equal to, or less than, those used in FMVSS 208 and NCAP testing. Because previous biomechanical research produced mostly knee or distal femur injuries, and because knee and femur injuries were frequently documented in early crash investigation data, the femur has traditionally been viewed as the weakest part of the KTH complex.
Technical Paper

The Influence of Impact Energy and Direction on Thoracic Response

A test series using unembalmed cadavers was conducted to investigate thoracic response differences in lateral impacts between high energy (rib fractures produced) and low energy (no rib fractures produced) testing and also the response to low energy impacts for different impact directions (frontal, 45°, and lateral). Five of the test subjects were instrumented with a nine-accelerometer package and an eighteen-accelerometer array to measure thoracic response. Seven of the test subjects were instrumented with a triaxial accelerometer on the head and a six-accelerometer array to measure thoracic response. Impact events were performed with either the UMTRI pendulum impact device or the UMTRI pneumatic impact device. The subject was struck with a free-traveling mass (25 or 56 kg) which was fitted with either a 15 cm round or 20 cm square rigid metal surface.
Technical Paper

Tests Characterizing Performance of an Adaptive Cruise Control System

The tests described here have been used to provide a preliminary checkout of the control functionality of a prototype adaptive cruise control (ACC) system being used in a field operational test of intelligent cruise control. The results presented provide an initial characterization of the headway control performance of the ACC system. The inputs to these tests are the speed of the preceding vehicle. The results of the tests are based upon measurements of range, range rate, velocity, transmission shift commands, and velocity commands resident within the ACC system. Numerical performance measures are derived from these data and used to characterize system performance quantitatively. Results from these types of tests could be used in assessing differences in headway control characteristics associated with various ACC systems.
Technical Paper

Standing Reach Envelopes Incorporating Anthropometric Variance and Postural Cost

Standing reach envelopes are important tools for the design of industrial and vehicle environments. Previous work in this area has focussed on manikin-based (where a few manikins are used to simulate individuals reaching within the region of interest) and population-based (where data are gathered on many individuals reaching in a constrained environment) approaches. Each of these methods has merits and shortfalls. The current work bridges the manikin- and population-based approaches to assessing reach by creating population models using kinematic simulation techniques driven by anthropometric data. The approach takes into account body dimensions, balance, and postural cost to create continuous models that can be used to assess designs with respect to both maximal and submaximal reaches. Cost is quantified as the degree to which the torso is involved in the reach, since the inclination of the torso is a good measure of lower-back load and may be related to subjective reach difficulty.
Technical Paper

Some Effects of Lumbar Support Contour on Driver Seated Posture

An appropriately contoured lumbar support is widely regarded as an essential component of a comfortable auto seat. A frequently stated objective for a lumbar support is to maintain the sitter's lumbar spine in a slightly extended, or lordotic, posture. Although sitters have been observed to sit with substantial lordosis in some short-duration testing, long-term postural interaction with a lumbar support has not been documented quantitatively in the automotive environment. A laboratory study was conducted to investigate driver posture with three seatback contours. Subjects† from four anthropometric groups operated an interactive laboratory driving simulator for one-hour trials. Posture data were collected by means of a sonic digitizing system. The data identify driver-selected postures over time for three lumbar support contours. An increase of 25 mm in the lumbar support prominence from a flat contour did not substantially change lumbar spine posture.
Technical Paper

Simple Predictors of the Performance of A-trains

Figures of merit describing the performance qualities of multiple-trailer vehicle combinations (for example, rearward amplification) are usually determined from either full-scale vehicle testing or computer simulation analysis. Either method is expensive and time consuming, and restricted in practice to organizations with specialized equipment and engineering skills. One goal of a recent study, conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, was to use basic vehicle properties to develop simple formulations for estimating the performance qualities of multiple-trailer vehicle combinations. Several hundred computer simulation runs were made using UMTRI's Yaw/Roll program. Five common double-trailer vehicle configurations (defined by trailer lengths and axle configurations) were studied. Each of the five vehicles was subject to fifteen parameter variations.
Technical Paper

Side Impacts to the Passenger Compartment — Clinical Studies from Field Accident Investigations

The side impact, recently and currently the subject to of much debate, controversy and proposed NHTSA rule making, is a difficult type of crash to significantly reduce serious injuries and fatalites. Results from real-world crash investigations presents a confusing picture for the near-side passenger compartment crash. A direct relationship between the amount of crush and injury severity levels (MAIS) is not apparent. Exemplar cases of tow-a-way/injury crashes are presented at all AIS injury level of drivers in crashes with direct driver door crush damage.
Technical Paper

Seated Posture of Vehicle Occupants

This paper describes the methodology and results from a project involving development of anthropometrically based design specifications for a family of advanced adult anthropomorphic dummies. Selection of family members and anthropometric criteria for subject sample selection were based on expected applications of the devices and on an analysis of U.S. population survey data. This resulted in collection of data for dummy sizes including a small female, a mid-sized male, and a large male. The three phases of data collection included: 1. in-vehicle measurements to determine seat track position and seating posture preferred by the subjects for use in development of laboratory seat bucks; 2. measurement of subject/seat interface contours for fabrication of an average hard seat surface for use in the buck; and 3. measurement of standard anthropometry, seated anthropometry (in the buck), and three-dimensional surface landmark coordinates using standard and photogrammetric techniques.
Technical Paper

Safety Implications of Trucks Designed to Weigh Over 80,000 Pounds

A method is presented for checking vehicle designs to see if they will meet size and weight rules that may be applicable to vehicles weighing more than 80,000 lb. Then, examples of heavy trucks that have been designed to be productive are used in illustrating analytical evaluations of measures of performance in safety-related maneuvering situations. The paper concludes with the point of view that trucks over 80,000 lb could have design attributes that would allow these heavier vehicles to have levels of intrinsic safety exceeding or comparable to those of current trucks.
Technical Paper

Roll-Stability Performance of Heavy-Vehicle Suspensions

The handling-performance capability of most large commercial vehicles operating on US highways is generally established by the limits of roll stability. Especially for heavy trucks, suspension properties play an important role in establishing the basic roll stability of the vehicle. For all highway vehicles, the limit of static roll stability is established first by the ratio of half-track width to center-of-gravity height, and then by the compliant responses of the vehicle, which lead to outward motion of the center of gravity in a turn. Three suspension properties, roll stiffness, roll-center height, and lateral stiffness, influence this motion significantly. This paper discusses the basic mechanisms of static roll stability and highlights the role of suspension properties in establishing the roll-stability limit. Facilities and procedures for measuring key suspension properties are described, and data from the measurement of ninty-four heavy-vehicle suspensions are presented.
Technical Paper

Response and Tolerance of Female and/or Elderly PMHS to Lateral Impact

Eight whole fresh-frozen cadavers (6 female, 2 male) that were elderly and/or female were laterally impacted using UMTRI's dual-sled side-impact test facility. Cadavers were not excluded on the basis of old age or bone diseases that affect tolerance. A thinly padded, multi-segment impactor was used that independently measured force histories applied to the shoulder, thorax, abdomen, greater trochanter, iliac wing, and femur of each PMHS. Impactor plates were adjusted vertically and laterally toward the subject so that contact with body regions occurred simultaneously and so that each segment contacted the same region on every subject. This configuration minimized the effects of body shape on load sharing between regions. Prior to all tests, cadavers were CT scanned to check for pre-existing skeletal injuries. Cadavers were excluded if they had pre-existing rib fractures or had undergone CPR.
Technical Paper

Repeatability of the Tilt-Table Test Method

Tilt-table testing is one means of quantifying the static roll stability of highway vehicles. By this technique, a test vehicle is subjected to a physical situation analogous to that experienced in a steady state turn. Although the analogy is not perfect, the simplicity and fidelity of the method make it an attractive means for estimating static rollover threshold. The NHTSA has suggested the tilt-table method as one means of regulating the roll stability properties of light trucks and utility vehicles. One consideration in evaluating the suitability of any test method for regulatory use is repeatability, both within and among testing facilities. As a first step toward evaluating the repeatability of the tilt-table method, an experimental study examining the sensitivity of tilt-table test results to variables associated with methodology and facility was conducted by UMTRI for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. This paper reports some of the findings of that study.
Technical Paper

Rearward Vision, Driver Confidence, and Discomfort Glare Using an Electrochromic Rearview Mirror

Electrochromic rearview mirrors can provide continuous levels of reflectivity and unobtrusive, automatic control. The availability of this technology has increased the importance of understanding how to select the best level of reflectivity for a given set of lighting conditions. For night driving with glare from following headlights, the best reflectivity level will always depend on a tradeoff among several variables. This study was designed to help clarify what variables are important and how they should be quantified. Twenty subjects, 10 younger and 10 older, performed a number of visual tasks while viewing stimuli through an electrochromic rearview mirror. Subjects were seated in an automobile mockup in a laboratory, and the reflectivity level of the mirror was changed before each of a series of discrete trials. On each trial, subjects saw reflected in the mirror a visual-acuity stimulus and a glare source of varying intensity.
Technical Paper

Prediction of Airbag-Induced Forearm Fractures and Airbag Aggressivity

This study continued the biomechanical investigations of forearm fractures caused by direct loading of steering-wheel airbags during the early stages of deployment. Twenty-four static deployments of driver airbags were conducted into the forearms of unembalmed whole cadavers using a range of airbags, including airbags that are depowered as allowed by the new federal requirements for frontal impact testing. In general, the depowered airbags showed a reduction in incidence and severity of forearm fractures compared to the pre-depowered airbags tested. Data from these twenty-four tests were combined with results from previous studies to develop a refined empirical model for fracture occurrence based on Average Distal Forearm Speed (ADFS), and a revised value for fifty-percent probability of forearm-bone fracture of 10.5 m/s. Bone mineral content, which is directly related to forearm tolerance, was found to be linearly related to arm mass.