Frontal Impact

Frontal impact is performed at 64kph (40mph), the car crashes into a deformable barrier with 40% of its width front on the driver side (offset). Readings taken from the crash test dummies are used to assess protection given to adult occupants in the front seat. 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 a similar mass car. As most frontal crashes involve only part of each car's front, the test is offset to replicate a half width frontal impact between two cars. In the test, this is replicated by having 40 percent of the width of the car crashing into the aluminium deformable 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's and passenger’s heads and chests are 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 performance based regulations for seatbelts with pretensioners, 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 area and greater control of foot pedals displacement.

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