Population-Based Assessment of a Vehicle Fleet with Seat Belts Providing Lower Shoulder Belt Forces Than Today

The objective of this study was to quantify the population-based effects of a lower shoulder belt load limit on front row occupants in frontal car crashes. Crashes of modern vehicles from the GIDAS (German in-Depth Accident Study) are corrected for bias and projected to the national level. Injury risk functions are computed for the injury severity levels Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale (MAIS) 2+, MAIS 3+, and fatal, stratified by 2 age cohorts (16–44 years of age and 45 years or older). To assess the field effectivity of a “softer belt,” the projected crash frequency data are modified separately for the 2 age cohorts such that its risk structure represents the risk of a softer belt. Given those 2 samples, the field effectivity of a softer belt is derived for several shares of the younger age cohort according to the injury severity levels MAIS 2+, MAIS 3+, and fatal. The injury risk distribution of the projected crash frequency data, represented here by the injury risk functions obtained, fits well into the injury risk distribution of other data sets (Sweden, United States, and Japan) given in the literature. The relative effects of a lower belt force are stable over the different ratios of the younger and old age cohorts. At the MAIS 2+ level, a lower belt force can significantly reduce the number of injuries (about 10%). A lower belt force does not significantly affect the number of MAIS 3+ injuries. A lower belt force can, however, more than double the number of fatal injuries. Because the number of fatal injuries rises dramatically due to lower belt force, the reduction in the number of MAIS 2+ injuries comes at a very high cost. Therefore, whether reducing the belt force limit is the right approach is questionable.


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  • Accession Number: 01712584
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 24 2019 3:00PM