Evaluation of kinematics and injuries to restrained occupants in far-side crashes using full-scale vehicle and human body models

Traffic Inj Prev. 2016 Sep;17 Suppl 1:116-23. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2016.1197394.


Objective: The objective of the current study was to perform a parametric study with different impact objects, impact locations, and impact speeds by analyzing occupant kinematics and injury estimations using a whole-vehicle and whole-body finite element-human body model (FE-HBM). To confirm the HBM responses, the biofidelity of the model was validated using data from postmortem human surrogate (PMHS) sled tests.

Methods: The biofidelity of the model was validated using data from sled experiments and correlational analysis (CORA). Full-scale simulations were performed using a restrained Global Human Body Model Consortium (GHBMC) model seated on a 2001 Ford Taurus model using a far-side lateral impact condition. The driver seat was placed in the center position to represent a nominal initial impact condition. A 3-point seat belt with pretensioner and retractor was used to restrain the GHBMC model. A parametric study was performed using 12 simulations by varying impact locations, impacting object, and impact speed using the full-scale models. In all 12 simulations, the principal direction of force (PDOF) was selected as 90°. The impacting objects were a 10-in.-diameter rigid vertical pole and a movable deformable barrier. The impact location of the pole was at the C-pillar in the first case, at the B-pillar in the second case, and, finally, at the A-pillar in the third case. The vehicle and the GHBMC models were defined an initial velocity of 35 km/h (high speed) and 15 km/h (low speed). Excursion of the head center of gravity (CG), T6, and pelvis were measured from the simulations. In addition, injury risk estimations were performed on head, rib cage, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen, and pelvis.

Results: The average CORA rating was 0.7. The shoulder belt slipped in B- and C-pillar impacts but somewhat engaged in the A-pillar case. In the B-pillar case, the head contacted the intruding struck-side structures, indicating higher risk of injury. Occupant kinematics depended on interaction with restraints and internal structures-especially the passenger seat. Risk analysis indicated that the head had the highest risk of sustaining an injury in the B-pillar case compared to the other 2 cases. Higher lap belt load (3.4 kN) may correspond to the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) 2 pelvic injury observed in the B-pillar case. Risk of injury to other soft anatomical structures varied with impact configuration and restraint interaction.

Conclusion: The average CORA rating was 0.7. In general, the results indicated that the high-speed impacts against the pole resulted in severe injuries, higher excursions followed by low-speed pole, high-speed moving deformable barrier (MDB), and low-speed MDB impacts. The vehicle and occupant kinematics varied with different impact setups and the latter kinematics were likely influenced by restraint effectiveness. Increased restraint engagement increased the injury risk to the corresponding anatomic structure, whereas ineffective restraint engagement increased the occupant excursion, resulting in a direct impact to the struck-side interior structures.

Keywords: Far-side impacts; human body models; injury risk estimation; modeling; validation; vehicle models.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Head / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Motor Vehicles / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seat Belts*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*