Pedestrian Flex-PLI legform test performance for seven early 2000s’ small cars

Mueller, Becky C. / Nolan, Joseph M.
Short Communications from the 61st Stapp Car Crash Conference
November 2017

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) is examining the potential real-world benefit of vehicle-based pedestrian tests, such as those proposed by NHTSA for future safety ratings. Laboratory pedestrian headform tests of seven popular small cars from the early 2000s predicted a range of pedestrian head protection for these vehicles. Comparing test results to fatal and incapacitating injury rates for these vehicles from US police-reported vehicle-to-pedestrian crashes data indicated a moderately strong correlation between real-world injury rates and laboratory headform-predicted head injury risks for these vehicles. This study examined the predicted pedestrian leg injury risk for these same small cars, based on laboratory legform tests. The vehicles had similar front-end geometry and bumper materials, which contributed to matching observations of legform kinematics. In all vehicles, regardless of impact location, leg sensors measured high risks of tibia and knee injuries, typically above Euro NCAP-established injury thresholds. The vehicles did not produce a relative range of performance, even with tests at a lower impact speed. These results suggest that the bumper designs for these seven vehicles pose similarly high risks for pedestrian leg injury.