Car size in UK crashes: the effects of user characteristics, impact configuration and the patterns of injury
journal contributionposted on 04.04.2006, 16:02 by Pete Thomas, Richard Frampton
Previous work examining the effect of vehicle mass has demonstrated the link with occupant injury severity. The principal factor has been related to Newtonian mechanics. This paper analyses data from the UK Co-operative Crash Injury Study and identifies other factors associated with car size. The mass of the car is found to have a predominant effect on injury outcome in frontal collisions only where the effect is seen most in injuries to the head, face and chest. Most fatal casualties in small cars die when in collision with another car in front or side collisions while the key group for large cars is frontal collisions with road-side objects. There are several characteristics of small car occupants that differ from those in large cars including gender, age and vehicle occupancy. New information in the analysis concerns the priorities in casualty reduction between small and large car occupants and the paper argues that vehicle design should take account of this variation to produce vehicles optimised for the complete range of crashes and car occupants.