Explanation of the tests
It's essential that motoring consumers can obtain reliable and accurate comparative information regarding the safety performance of individual car models.
It is the aim of Latin NCAP to encourage manufacturers to exceed these minimum requirements.
This section of the site contains an explanation of how Latin NCAP's crash test is performed and how our safety ratings are reached.
Frontal impact test is based on that developed by European Enhanced Vehicle-safety Committee as basis for legislation, but impact speed has been increased by 8 km/h.
Frontal impact takes place at 64kph (40mph), car strikes deformable barrier that is offset.
Readings taken from dummies are used to assess protection given to adult front occupants.
Each car tested is subjected to an offset impact into an immovable block fitted with a deformable aluminium honeycomb face. This impact is intended to represent the most frequent type of road crash, resulting in serious or fatal injury. It simulates one car having a frontal impact with another car of similar mass. As most frontal crashes involve only part of the car's front, the test is offset to replicate a half width impact between the cars. In the test, this is replicated by having 40 percent of the car impact the barrier. The barrier face is deformable to represent the deformable nature of the cars. This test is a severe test of the car's ability to survive the impact without suffering passenger compartment intrusion.
Contact between the occupant and intruding parts of the passenger compartment is the ain cause of serious and fatal injuries, for restrained adult car occupants. The test speed of 64 km/h (40% frontal off set) represents a car to car collision with each car travelling at around 55 km/h (50% frtonal off set). The difference in speed is due to the energy absorbed by the deformable face. Accident research has shown that this impact speed covers a significant proportion of serious and fatal accidents. By preventing intrusion, the chances of the occupant impacting the car's interior is minimised with space remaining for the restraint system to operate effectively.
Steering wheel mounted airbags form an important part of the driver's restraint system. Euro NCAP has encouraged designs where the driver's head is given stable support from the airbag and where the head does not "bottom it out." For a restrained occupant, the deceleration forces, generated in the crash, are transmitted to the occupant through the restraint system. Euro NCAP has encouraged the adoption of seat belt pretentioners, load limiters and dual stage airbags, to help attenuate the forces transmitted to the occupant. It has also helped to avoid situations where the chest is directly loaded by the steering wheel.
In most cars, the restraint system is unable to prevent the knees of the front seat occupants from impacting the facia. Euro NCAP has encouraged the removal of hazardous structures from the areas that the knees can impact. High forces on the knee can cause injury to the knee itself and can be transmitted up the thigh to the hip joint and pelvis. These load bearing parts of the skeleton are susceptible to severe, long term, disabling injuries.
With current car designs, there is no possibility of preventing contact between the occupants' feet and the footwell. In order to minimise injuries, Euro NCAP has encouraged intrusion reduction of the footwell and greater control of foot pedals displacement.
Based on Euro NCAP model, Latin NCAP has carried out a child occupant safety assessment since its very first test to ensure that manufacturers take responsibility for the children travelling in their vehicles. In November 2003, Euro NCAP introduced a child occupant protection rating to provide clearer information for consumers about the results of these tests.
LatinNCAP uses 18 month old and 3 year old sized dummies in the frontal test as EuroNCAP does. As well as studying the results from the impact tests, LatinNCAP verifies the clarity of instructions and seat installation in the vehicle to ensure that the child seat can be fitted safely and securely.
Seat belt reminders
The seat belt remains the single-most effective item of safety equipment in any car. It is the most fundamental part of any restraint system and manufacturers are continuing to develop new and better seatbelt systems to provide ever greater protection. However, many people continue to drive without wearing their seatbelts, and such people are vastly over-represented in statistics of severe and fatal injuries.
Many of those who do not routinely wear their seatbelts would do so if prompted by a signal. Research shows that occupants are much more likely to wear their belts in cars equipped with a seatbelt reminder (SBR) than in those without.
Meet the drivers
Hybrid III and ES-2 have experienced dozens of crashes first-hand. Their role is vital: the accident simulations rely on having a driver and passenger aboard to provide a full picture of likely injuries in a crash, although the pedestrian safety tests use simulated limbs to chart what happens in a collision.
Hybrid III and ES-2 are no ordinary driver and passenger: these are steel-skeletoned, rubber-skinned dummies packed with sensing equipment. To build, they each cost in excess of €100,000.
What dummies know
Dummies provide vital clues to what happens in a crash. Our limb- by-limb anatomy guide explains how data is sourced.
The head is made of aluminium and covered in rubber 'flesh'. Inside, three accelerometers are set at right angles, each providing data on the forces and accelerations to which the brain would be subjected in a crash.
Features measuring devices to detect the bending, shearing and tension forces on the neck as the head is thrown forwards and backwards during the impact.
Neither arm carries any instrumentation. In a crash test, the arms flail around in an uncontrolled way, and although serious injuries are uncommon, it is difficult to provide worthwhile protection against them.
Chest (front impact)
Hybrid Ill's steel ribs are fitted with equipment that records deflection of the rib cage in the frontal impact. Injuries result if forces exerted on the chest, such as from the seat belt are too great.
Chest (side impact)
The side-impact dummy, ES-2, has a different chest from the others and three ribs are instrumented to record compression of the chest and the velocity of this compression.
EuroSID II is equipped with sensors to record forces likely to cause abdominal injury.
EuroSID II has instruments fitted in its pelvic girdle. They record lateral forces that may result in fractures or hip-joint dislocation.
In Hybric III, this area is made up of the pelvis, femur (thigh) and knee. Load cells in the femur provide data in frontal impacts on likely injury to all sections, including the hip joint which can suffer fractures and dislocations. A 'knee slider' is used to measure forces transmitted through the dummy's knees, particularly if they strike the lower facia.
Instruments fitted inside the dummies' legs measure bending, shear, compression and tension, allowing injury risks to the tibia (shin-bone) and fibula (connecting knee to ankle) to be assessed.
Feet and Ankles Assessment of injury risk in the frontal impact is made by afterwards measuring distortion and rearward movement of the driver's footwell area.
This section contains information for automotive safety engineers. Please check this area for the latest technical protocols for vehicle testing and rating.
- CSSTR - Latin NCAP Car Sponsorship Testing and Retesting Protocol v2.0
- Latin NCAP Adult Assessment Protocol v2.0
- Latin NCAP Child Occupant Assessment Protocol v2.0
- Latin NCAP Frontal Protocol v1.0
All files are in PDF unless otherwise noted.
for Road Safety
2011 - 2020