Driver discomfort : prevalence, prediction and prevention

2017-06-08T11:40:53Z (GMT) by Diane E. Gyi
This research is concerned with exploring the relationship between car driving and musculoskeletal troubles and following on from this investigating methods which could aid the automotive industry in the design and evaluation of car seats. The thesis is divided into two parts. Part I describes the development and results of an epidemiological survey undertaken with data obtained from two sample groups. Study 1 was an interview survey (based on the Nordic Questionnaire) of 600 members of the British public, randomly selected within the strata of age and gender. Study 2 used the same interview, but with two carefully chosen groups of police officers (n=200). The results indicated that car drivers (especially those who drove as part of their job) appeared to be at risk in terms of reported discomfort and sickness absence due to low back trouble. Evidence from this and other studies has also indicated that drivers with the most adjustable driving packages may benefit in terms of both reduced discomfort and reduced sickness absence. This provided the background for the subsequent research in Part II and some impetus for car manufacturers to consider health issues in the design of car workstations. Part II involved a series of three experiments designed to investigate methodologies which could be used by manufacturers to predict car seat discomfort The literature was reviewed to identify suitable predictive techniques which would be robust enough to provide information to the automotive industry in 'real world' situations. The technique of interface pressure measurement had already generated interest in some seat manufacturers and was therefore selected for investigation. As a result of the findings in experiment 1, established guidelines for a comfortable driving posture may need to be modified. The other two experiments were designed to create discomfort in subjects firstly by varying foam hardness and secondly by varying posture. A clear, simple and consistent relationship between interface pressure and discomfort in realistic driving situations was not identified. Future studies using this technique should provide information regarding such factors as gender, the body mass index, anthropometric data, posture and foam hardness due to the confounding nature of these variables.