In this letter in reply to the article "Auto crash tests unsettle Japan and Detroit" (Science, 9 January 1981, p.150), the author takes issue with the standards used by NHTSA to evaluate crash tests. A test dummy Head Injury Criteria (HIC) value over 1000 is classified as "failure" (i.e. serious injury or fatality) by NHTSA. However, in the author's opinion, how high the HIC value must be to indicate reliably a specific level of injury is not within the scope of current technology; and a HIC value in excess of 1000 is not necessarily indicative of a serious or fatal injury. NHTSA's pass/fail system is particularly misleading at or near the 1000 threshold where differences are small (e.g. a car with a HIC value of 997 "passed" while one with a value of 1024 "failed"). An analysis of NHTSA's own accident data file indicates only about 5 percent of accidents are representative of the full-front barrier-type test used by NHTSA in its rating system, thus calling into question the utility of its test data.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    American University

    Development Education and Training Research Institute
    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Ancker-Johnson, B
  • Publication Date: 1981-5-8

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 610
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00335417
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 29 1982 12:00AM