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Traffic Inj Prev. 2013;14(6):602-6. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2012.742516.

Effects of vehicle front-end stiffness on rear seat dummies in NCAP and FMVSS208 tests.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.



This study is devoted to quantifying changes in mass and stiffness of vehicles tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over the past 3 decades (model years 1982 to 2010) and understanding the effect of those changes on protection of rear seat occupants.


A total of 1179 tests were used, and the changes in their mass and stiffness versus their model year was quantified. Additionally, data from 439 dummies tested in rear seats of NHTSA's full frontal crashes were analyzed. Dummies were divided into 3 groups based on their reference injury criteria. Multiple regressions were performed with speed, stiffness, and mass as predicting variables for head, neck, and chest injury criteria.


A significant increase in mass and stiffness over model year of vehicles was observed, for passenger cars as well as large platform vehicles. The result showed a significant correlation (P-value < .05) between the increase in stiffness of the vehicles and increase in head and chest injury criteria for all dummy sizes.


These results explain that stiffness is a significant contributor to previously reported decreases in protection of rear seat occupants over model years of vehicles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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