Latin NCAP provides safety ratings based on the assessment of adult occupant protection (passive/secondary safety), child occupant protection (passive/secondary safety) and primary/active safety offered by the car model. Latin NCAP awards the car model with star ratings fromzero and five stars for adult and child occupant protection.

ADULT OCCUPANT

The rating for adult occupant protection (passive/secondary safety) is determined by front and side impact tests. Five stars models are also assessed in a side pole impact test.

Frontal impact is performed at 64kph (40mph), car strikes a deformable barrier with 40% of its front in the driver side (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 replicate the effect caused in the car when crashing 55km/h 50% offset frontal crash with an equal mass car. 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. This represents the most frequent type of road crash, resulting in serious or fatal injury. The barrier face is deformable to represent the deformable nature of the cars. Two adult dummies are placed representing average size men in the driver's seat and front passenger and two children, aged 18 months and 3 years old, on child restraint systems are placed in the rear seat.

Contact between the occupant and hard and intruding parts of the passenger compartment is the main cause of serious and fatal injuries for restrained adult car occupants. The test speed of 64 km/h represents a car to car collision with each car travelling at around 55 km/h and crashing 50% of their width. 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 and dashboard mounted airbags are an important part of the driver's restraint system. Latin NCAP encourages designs where the driver'sand passenger’s heads and chestsare given stable support from the airbags and where the head does not "bottom out". For a restrained occupant, the deceleration forces generated during the crash are transmitted to the occupant through the restraint system. Latin NCAP encourages the adoption of seatbeltswith pretentioners, load limiters and dual stage airbags, to help attenuate the forces transmitted to the occupant.

In most cars, the restraint system is unable to prevent the knees of the front seat occupants from impacting the facial. Latin NCAP encourages 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.In order to minimise injuries, Latin NCAP encourages intrusion reduction of the footwell and greater control of foot pedals displacement.

How safe is your car?