A review of secondary safety priorities
This report identifies passenger car occupant safety issues that can be considered priorities for injury mitigation through secondary safety interventions. The results are relevant to a newer car fleet designed to meet the current regulatory and consumer test requirements. Some suggestions were made for secondary safety interventions but the general conclusion for all areas was that more understanding of the injury mechanisms, further enhanced biomechanical data, and improved dummy bio-fidelity were required before the most effective countermeasures (including both changes in regulation and vehicle design) could be determined and their respective benefits quantified. The main conclusion from this study is that whilst various priority areas have been identified and some secondary safety interventions suggested, the benefit that these would have in mitigating injury is unclear since some injury mechanisms are still largely undefined. It would be inadvisable to simply implement design solutions/develop new regulation without due consideration to the shortfall in current biomechanical knowledge and the limitations of the current test procedures/tools in predicting injury outcome under real world crash conditions. In addition to the main study, a pilot driver survey was carried out to gain knowledge of public opinion and perception of car safety as an influencing factor in vehicle purchase. This survey demonstrated a potential methodology but the results are limited due to the small sample size. This report is intended as a summary of the extensive work that has been undertaken for the project. There are a number of substantial appendices which document the in-depth research undertaken on which this summary report is based. The project was conducted in a number of stages. Issues have been identified through analysis of national and in-depth accident data sets, through workshops held with experts in the field of vehicle safety (Project Consultative Group), and through a review of the literature. Throughout the project consultations have been held with the Department for Transport. National accident data highlighted the continued importance of car occupant injury mitigation within the accident constellation. Further priority areas for passenger car occupants were then defined primarily according to the frequency of the injury, the cost to society of the injury, and through the existing knowledge base across members of the Project Consultative Group (PCG). A total of 18 priority areas have emerged relating to injury mitigation in frontal, side, rear, rollover and multiple impact configurations. Additionally, 6 areas were identified concerned with associated issues such as vulnerable road users. For each of these an indication of the extent of current research activity is given and recommendations made for further actions that could be undertaken to advance the current knowledge. Consensus was sought among the PCG members for 5 leading priority areas and the potential for injury mitigation through secondary safety intervention by means of vehicle design or regulatory compliance was explored by means of a workshop. These 5 areas were femur fractures in frontal impact, foot/ankle injuries in frontal impacts, chest injuries in struck side impacts, whiplash in frontal impacts and rear occupant protection in frontal impacts.