1. Automobiles’ Seat and Seat back Structure and Occupants’ Safety in Rear Crashes:
The structural properties of an automobile’s seats and seatbacks are some of the factors that should be examined in investigating injuries to a vehicle’s occupants in rear crashes. This is a brief report based on vehicle structural analysis, statistical data on rear crashes and the relevant published research on this topic.
In many cases, claims have been made that the injuries to the automobile occupant occurred because the seatback deformed excessively, causing large excursions of the occupant, resulting in his/her subsequent impacts with parts of the vehicle or with another occupant. Statements have also been made that a stiffer structure for seatbacks may have reduced or eliminated these injuries. The product liability debate has thus been on the merits of ‘stiff’ seatbacks versus ‘yielding’ seatbacks and the advantages of each in reducing rear crash injuries.
2. Pedestrians’ Injuries & Effect of Automobile’s Front Structure Design:
In case of a an impact between a pedestrian (or bicyclist) and an automobile, the front structure design of the automobile maybe one of the factors determining the injury outcome. This topic of relationship between the injury outcome and the vehicle structure has been the subject of research for many years. Legislation exists in some countries regarding the design requirements of automobiles’ hoods and fenders in order to reduce pedestrians’ injuries.
3. Trends in Automotive Safety from Analysis of Recent Front NCAP Tests:
Major changes have been instituted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the measurement procedure and publications of the safety ratings system for automobiles of model years 2011 and later. With the wide publicity given to NCAP ratings and with the intense marketplace competition among automakers, such ratings have become a de-facto ‘standard’ (in addition to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) for designing automobiles and all vehicle manufacturers try to achieve the highest possible ratings for their new product. This note analyzes frontal crash test data from recent NCAP tests to establish trends in automobile safety.