Attenuating head impact with vehicular (including heavy truck) interiors

Automotive interiors have long been a potentially injurious impact area to occupants during accidents, especially in the absence of adequate padding. The U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 201, Occupant Protection in Interior Impact, outlines test procedures and performance criteria in order to mitigate potentially injurious head impacts to interior surfaces. FMVSS 201 specifies a finite set of impact locations and applies to passenger vehicles of a specified year range and with a gross vehicle weight rating less than 10,000 pounds. In this paper, two head impact test methodologies are presented, a pendulum-test device and a Free Motion Headform (FMH) launching device, which allows for dynamic, repeatable impact evaluation of various vehicle interior surfaces and their impact attenuation abilities. The presented testing includes multiple series that evaluate the effect of differing vehicle upper interior padding on occupant head injury. One study in particular, analyzes a head impact to the side header of a heavy truck (not included in FMVSS 201) during a 90 degree rollover. Additionally, two other series of tests are presented which assess the injury reduction effect of side airbags to near side as well as far side occupants in a side impact scenario. Lastly, a forensic analysis is presented which evaluates two possible head impact locations experienced in a real world accident by analysis of the resulting interior compartment damage utilizing the FMH launching device test method. The data collected and presented includes accelerometer instrumentation and high speed video analysis. These studies demonstrate that adequate padding and airbags are very effective at mitigating head injury potential at impact speeds of 12-25 mph (19-40 km/h). (A) Paper to the session "Regulations and Consumer Aspects" of the 5th International Conference on ESAR "Expert Symposium on Accident Research", 7th to 8th September 2012 in Hannover.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01497323
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen (BASt)
  • ISBN: 978-3-95606-021-2
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Oct 9 2013 10:42AM