This study was performed to determine how the likilihood of a belted driver being killed in a signle car crash depends on the mass of the car. This was done by applying the pedestrian fatality exposure approach to the subset of fatalities in the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) for which the driver was coded as using a shoulder belt and/or a lap belt. Combining the 1975 through 1982 data provided a sufficiently large population of belted drivers to perform the analysis. In the exposure approach used, the number of car drivers killed in single car crashes is divide by the number of non-occupant fatalities ((pedestrians or motorcyclists) associated with the same group of cars. The ratio is interpreted to reflect the physical effect of car mass, essentially independent of driver behavior effects. In the present application, car mass effects for belted drivers were determined by considering the number of belted drivers killed divided by the number of non occupants killed in crashes involving cars whose drivers were coded in the FARS files as being belted. Because the belt use of surviving drivers is, to some extent, self reported, it is considered that the data given should not be used to estimate the effectiveness of seat belts in preventing fatalities. The results are presented as graphical and analytical comparisons of fatality likelihood versus car mass for belted and unbelted drivers. It is concluded that the effect of car mass on relative driver fatality liklihood is essentially the same for belted and unbelted drivers (for example, the present analysis gives that a belted driver in a 900kg car is 2.3 times as likely to be killed in a single car crash as is the belted driver in an 1800 kg car. The corresponding ratio determined her for unbelted drivers is 2.4) As a consequence of this conclusion, the relative effectivenss of seat belts in preventing driver fatalities is similar for cars of different masses. (Author)

  • Corporate Authors:

    General Motors Corporation

    Research and Development Center, 30500 Mound Road
    Warren, MI  United States  48090
  • Authors:
    • Evans, Leonard
  • Publication Date: 1984-6

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 40 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00393964
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GMR-4781
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1985 12:00AM