Factors related to fatal injury in frontal crashes involving European cars

Despite considerable improvements in frontal impact crashworthiness, frontal crashes still account for a major number of front seat occupant fatalities in Great Britain. This study attempted to determine the remaining potential for further fatality reduction with passive safety improvements in frontal crashes. No evidence was found to support an increase in crash test speeds. Instead, assessment of scope for survival showed that at least 27% of all fatal drivers and 39% of all fatal front seat passengers have survival potential given attention to older occupant’s chest injury tolerance and passenger compartment intrusion under 60 km/h. Considering only fatal frontal crashes that might be assessed with a barrier test, showed an estimated survival potential of at least 49% of belted drivers and 60% of belted front seat passengers. The high proportion of unbelted fatalities suggested that targeting unbelted occupant protection could have additional benefit.