The Crashworthiness group at NHTSA VRTC conducts research and vehicle testing to examine issues relating to vehicle structural integrity, crash tests, occupant protection, & automotive defects investigations.

VRTC CRASHWORTHINESS RESEARCH AREAS: (Follow these links for project descriptions, current status information, and publications)

School Bus Safety

Defects Investigations

Window Glazing (Under Construction)

Heavy Truck Aggressivity(Under Construction)


DOT Auto Safety Hotline

Crashworthiness Publications

Preliminary Drawings of an Upgraded Standard Frontal Seat Assembly
(Autodesk Inventor, Size 24.5 MB- zipped) March 2015
NHTSA has been working towards upgrading the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, “Child restraint systems,” standard frontal seat assembly to better represent a vehicle’s rear seat. Download the preliminary technical drawings of the upgraded standard seat assembly to evaluate child restraint systems in a frontal crash. Drawings are subject to change.

Drawings of the Proposed Side Impact Sled (Autodesk Inventor 2014, Size 93.6MB) March 2014
Download the technical drawings of the standard seat assembly and the side impact sled proposed for inclusion into FMVSS No. 213, "Child restraint systems."

NHTSA’s Motorcoach Safety Research Crash, Sled, and Static Tests (Adobe Acrobat format, 4.04MB)

Motorcoach Side Glazing Retention Research, DOT HS 811 862, November 2013
This report discusses test procedures to evaluate the window retention of motorcoach side windows. The performance of several window latches and glazing is also examined.

Performance of Selected Event Data Recorders (Adobe Acrobat format, 1.26 MB)
This report describes the findings of a study to compare the performance of selected Event Data Recorders (EDR’s) in recording the crash environment for severe impact conditions.

Inspection and Testing of Low Speed Vehicles (Adobe Acrobat format, 11.59 MB)
In response to petitions by the golf cart industry NHTSA reviewed its position on low speed vehicles and has taken steps to define a new class of low speed vehicle (LSV) which is exempt from the federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) that apply to motor vehicles. A new safety standard, FMVSS 100, has been proposed to regulate this new class of vehicle. This report describes a survey and a series of tests conducted to evaluate the safety and stability of LSVs.

Quasi Static and Dynamic Roof Crush Testing (Adobe Acrobat format, 1.97 MB)
The object of this report was to determine the correlation between roof crush perfomance measured quasi-statically and dynamically. Nine vehicles where tested in the quasi-static mode and six vehicles were tested by dropping them on their roofs. An equation for predicting dynamic energy slope from static data was developed.

Crashworthiness Data

  • Buying a Safer Car: Star ratings, crash testing, and comparative safety information by model year. Lists safety features and gives crash test ratings of frontal protection of new and used cars to help consumers make purchase decisions.
  • Compliance Reporting: Crash tests performed at 30 mph and other safety tests to determine if car makers have met minimum Federal requirements.