Low Speed Crash Safety - Crash Testing Research Expert Article

How does seatbelt use or non-use affect occupant safety in relatively low-speed impacts? In this research, the automotive engineers at Robson Forensic demonstrate the effectiveness of seatbelt use in a relatively low speed, 10 mph, crash situation.

Robson Forensic crash testing research shows how an unbuckled occupant moves during a relatively low speed crash.

Typical documented crash testing is performed using either very low changes in velocity (3 to 5 mph) or relatively high changes in velocity (35 mph).

There is little research published on moderate crashes where passengers sustain injuries and airbags may or may not have deployed. The threshold for airbag deployment depends on the specific vehicle manufacturer, but the general expectation is that deployment occurs during frontal impacts with a change in velocity greater than 10 mph. This 10 mph test would be near the lower airbag deployment threshold, where typically an airbag would not deploy.

As seen in this demonstration, the driver without a seatbelt would sustain injury from hard contact with the steering wheel, where a belted occupant would not.

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Steven Becker, Automotive Engineer & Crash Expert

Steven Becker

Automotive Engineer & Crash Expert
Steven is a vehicle engineer with more than twenty years experience and has worked directly for automotive manufacturers and tier 1 automotive parts suppliers. He provides investigations, reports, and… read more.

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