Publication

Passive safety of passenger cars

A Pilot-study into the development of a ranking list of passenger cars

Author(s)

Kampen, Ir. L.T.B. van

Year

1998

Passive safety of passenger cars The SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research was commissioned to conduct a passive safety study for the Netherlands Transport Research Centre (AVV). The first part of this study (Tromp, 1998, [only in Dutch]) concerned rear-end collisions and neck injury. This second part (original Dutch version by Van Kampen, 1998) investigated the feasibility of constructing a list of individual or grouped types of cars which could be ranked according to passive safety. In so doing, differences in passive safety among these types of cars could be described. Due to the differences between composition of road traffic and collision conditions in other countries in comparison to the Netherlands, foreign ranked listings are rather limited in regard to this objective. The report includes a consideration of the existing and the intended vehicular regulations in the area of passive safety. It also examines the complex issue of making vehicles compatible with one another and the often conflicting vehicle requirements, especially in regard to the safety of occupants as opposed to the safety of third parties. A rank list was produced, based on accident data obtained from the National Register of Road Traffic Accidents (VOR) of the Traffic Accident Data Administration of the Department of Public Works (AVV/BG). Linked to the VOR data were vehicle data from the vehicle registration numbers of the RDW Department of Roads Transport. Two measures for expressing the passive safety of individual vehicles were developed. One of these (EV) provides an indication of the occupant safety for a certain vehicle model while the other (AV) expresses the degree of injury caused by a certain vehicle model in relationship to other road users. Practically speaking, the procedure for obtaining related data (accident data and vehicle data) left something to be desired. For reasons of privacy, SWOV could not obtain direct access to vehicle registration numbers. Because SWOV was not able to handle vehicle registration numbers directly, the quality of the obtained results was less than expected. It is therefore recommended that the AVV/BG still consider these quality aspects. Also recommended is that the vehicle license numbers be provided directly to SWOV during the follow-up, preferably permanently in the standard accident file. This pilot study showed that linking vehicle data with accident data is quite feasible. The passive safety analyses provided reliable data. Also confirmed by this pilot study using Dutch data was the connection between vehicle size and the severity of personal injury as commonly noted in the literature. There appeared to be a very strong inversely proportional relationship between vehicle size and occupant safety: the smaller and lighter the vehicle, the more severe the injuries for the car's driver. The key objective of the study was achieved: a ranked listing (although provisional) was drawn up of various types of vehicles occurring more than one hundred times in the file. Criteria used were the EV and AV. Theprovisional ranked listing shows a more or less logical progression of EV and AV while also considering the established tie between vehicular mass and the severity of personal injury. To make the ranked listing more complete and reliable, further analysis, both of the previously studied material and of data yet to be gathered, is recommended

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