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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety

Car occupants



Car occupants


Frontal and oblique impact

  • How can versatile structures for the range of real-world conditions be designed?
  • How can new structures be designed to respond to low mass and improved fuel economy from environmental demands?
  • Criteria and instrumentation for frontal impact injury to the abdomen and knees
  • How can front and side-impact compatibility for car-to-vehicle (all sizes) and car-to-roadside object impacts (e.g., trees, poles, guardrails, median dividers) be improved?
  • How can adaptive and deployable structures to improve energy management be developed?
  • How can intrusion in real-world crashes, particularly in the footwell region, de reduced further?


Side impact

  • How can protection in side impacts at higher severities and for non-struck side occupants be achieved?
  • How can the sensing of side impacts be improved to permit side airbags to be deployed more effectively?
  • Are current restraint systems such as side-curtain airbags effective in preventing head injury to occupants of a car when struck by an SUV or pole?
  • What are the causes of far-side occupant injuries, how well are they represented by existing dummies and how can the injuries be prevented?
  • How do current front bumper standards and low speed crash repair cost tests affect bullet car aggressivity in side impacts?
  • How can structures be improved to benefit compatibility in car-to-car or car-to-SUV side impacts?


Restraint systems

  • Methods need to be developed to provide interior restraint systems which are sensitive to impact severity, occupant sitting posture, occupant size and susceptibility to injury;
  • Development of a legislative specification for smart audible seat belt warning devices
  • A reduction in "whiplash" associated disorder injury should be soughtthrough improvements in seat belts and airbags;
  • assessment of the potentials of pre-crash sensing technology.
  • Development of integrated child seats
  • New technologies to encourage seat belt usage, particularly in rear seats, by improving comfort, spool in and convenience
  • Improved seat belt and airbag performance in oblique crashes


Rear impacts

  • Major research questions on rear impact safety concern the nature and biomechanics of "whiplash" injury.
  • Additional research is needed on the relationship between rear structure design, rear impact crash pulses and "whiplash" injury risk.
  • Monitoring of the effectiveness of existing head restraints is needed to support further design improvements.
  • The integrity of fuel systems in rear crashes should be monitored and improved.



The primary means of improving rollover protection is increased levels of seat belt use. Improved restraints that reduce partial ejection and interior head contact would also be beneficial. Further research into improved roof strength and the application of laminated glass in side windows and sunroofs is needed.