Side impacts were studied using three separate analyses. National Accident Sampling System (NASS) and National Crash Severity Study (NCSS) cases were reviewed on multivehicle crashes involving fatal chest and abdominal injury by interior contact. Twenty-five cases were analyzed and showed an unusually high involvement of older occupants. Analysis of the 1975-1986 FARS confirmed an overinvolvement. Sixty-four percent of near-side seated occupants were over 50 years old and 36 percent over 70 in fatal multivehicle side impacts. Analysis of the 1982-1986 NASS showed that single-vehicle side impacts are not an important injury risk for older drivers, except on icy or wet roads. In contrast, the risk of injury in multivehicle side impacts increases steadily with age and is a major problem for older drivers. The individual NASS and NCSS cases also showed that 88 percent of the multivehicle side crashes took place at an intersection and that the driver of the struck vehicle frequently caused the crash by driving error (48 percent) or traffic violation (16 percent). The majority of the cases occurred in daylight hours, on dry road, and without alcohol involvement. Changes in visual perception, judgment, and attention of the older driver may be factors in their missing a traffic signal or turning in front of traffic under the right-of-way. In addition, a reduced tolerance to impact force probably contributes to the injury. Although an analysis of photographs of the side-impacted vehicles indicated that 44 percent had side-structure deformation that was similar to that produced in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) moving deformable barrier test, only 24 percent-32 percent of the cases actually addressed the proposed NHTSA dynamic side-impact test. The results of this analysis bear on the agency's preliminary regulatory impact analysis.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Pergamon Press, Incorporated

    Headington Hill Hall
    Oxford OX30BW,    
  • Authors:
    • Viano, D C
    • Culver, C C
    • Evans, Leonard
    • Frick, M
    • SCOTT, R
  • Publication Date: 1990-4

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00493806
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-040 715
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 30 1990 12:00AM