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Comparison of vehicle structure and occupant responses in driver- and passenger-side IIHS small overlap frontal crash tests

Mueller, Becky C.; Nolan, Joseph M.
Proceedings of the 2016 IRCOBI Conference
September 2016

Front crashworthiness evaluations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety include driver (left) side small overlap (25%) frontal crash tests at 64 km/h with a rigid, radius-edged flat barrier. Ratings are based on occupant compartment structural integrity, driver dummy injury measures, and analysis of restraints and dummy kinematics. Additional tests offset to the passenger (right) side were conducted with seven small SUVs rated Good in left-side tests to compare small overlap crash protection for drivers and front passengers. Provisional ratings based on right-side tests ranged from Good to Poor. Higher right-side occupant compart-ment structural intrusion was the main reason for different assessments of driver and front passenger protec-tion. Additionally, some near-side front passenger dummies recorded higher forces on their outboard legs than their near-side driver counterparts. While injury measures from far-side driver dummies suggest lower risk compared with near-side counterparts, observations of inadequate restraint system performance reveal a need to further investigate their relevance with real-world far-side driver injuries. These results indicate a need for auto manufacturers to consider both sides of the vehicle when developing front small overlap crash protection strategies and may also indicate a need to include the driver dummy in right-side evaluations of frontal small overlap crashworthiness.