Vehicle Safety

Resources

The Office of Vehicle Safety Research and supports U.S. DOT’s and NHTSA’s safety goals by conducting research and safety testing of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. 

NHTSA’s recently published vehicle safety reports are listed chronologically below.

64 Results
Functional Safety Research Considerations for Heavy Vehicles

Industry standard ISO 26262, Road Vehicles - Functional Safety, currently applies to vehicles with gross vehicle mass up to 3,500 kg (7,716 lb), which excludes trucks and buses. This study documents factors that might necessitate functional safety approaches to have different considerations between different weight classes of vehicles and to explore how the heavy-vehicle industry is currently applying functional safety to its electrical and electronic systems. Heavy vehicles differ from light vehicles in the systems they comprise, the ways they are developed, and how they are used. The heavy-vehicle industry is applying the principles of functional safety through established systems engineering practices or the general industry standard IEC 61508. A revision of ISO 26262 that will expand the scope to include trucks and buses was in the committee draft stage at the time this study was conducted. The revision is expected to clarify the demarcation between a truck and attached vocational equipment and to account for the wider variance in heavy vehicles, but not to fundamentally change the process deriving the requirements for functional safety.

Baseline Analysis of Driver Performance at Intersections for the Left-Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) Applications

This study supports development of left turn assist (LTA) and intersection movement assist (IMA) applications that provide warnings to drivers crossing intersections. It supports improved intersection collision warning applications design by enhancing understanding of intersection behavior, identifying metrics and test procedures through analysis of real-world data, and providing information used to reduce false alerts and nuisance alerts. A literature review identifies previous research into metrics for driver behavior at intersections, and databases from two naturalistic driving studies were queried to identify scenarios that could be analyzed as examples of normal or baseline turning behavior. Crashes were also identified in a national crash database and analyzed as examples of driving where alert would have been useful.
 

Occupant Safety in Vehicles Equipped With Automated Driving Systems, Part 1: Initial Evaluation of Usability, Stability, and Injury Prediction Capabilities

This project sought to perform an initial evaluation of the usability, stability, and potential injury prediction capabilities for two human body models (GHBMC-M50-O and GHBMC-M50-OS) and the NHTSA THOR FE anthropomorphic test device model in occupant postures that will become more possible with automated driving systems. Postures examined degrees of seat recline, inboard seat rotation, occupants turned in their seats, and occupants leaning against the belts in sleep-like posture. Collision scenarios included moving deformable barrier impacts at PDOFs around the vehicle. All simulations were performed with the occupant seated in the right front passenger position. Restraints included a front passenger air bag, a side curtain air bag, a side torso air bag, and a 3-point seat belt. Approximately 175 full vehicle simulations were performed and analyzed.

Occupant Safety in Vehicles Equipped With Automated Driving Systems, Part 3: Biofidelity Evaluation of GHBMC M50-OS Against Laboratory Sled Tests

This project sought to perform an initial evaluation of the usability, stability, and potential injury prediction capabilities for two human body models (GHBMC-M50-O and GHBMC-M50-OS) and the NHTSA THOR FE anthropomorphic test device model in occupant postures that will become more possible with automated driving systems. Postures examined degrees of seat recline, inboard seat rotation, occupants turned in their seats, and occupants leaning against the belts in sleep-like posture. Collision scenarios included moving deformable barrier impacts at PDOFs around the vehicle. All simulations were performed with the occupant seated in the right front passenger position. Restraints included a front passenger air bag, a side curtain air bag, a side torso air bag, and a 3-point seat belt. Approximately 175 full vehicle simulations were performed and analyzed.

Parameter Study of the OMDB Test Procedure

Oblique impact configurations account for a significant amount of real-world accidents. Compared to frontal crashes, these have different occupant kinematics and vehicle intrusion patterns. Consequently, a new oblique impact test is being developed and investigated by NHTSA. For example, offset moving deformable barrier (OMDB) impact velocity and occupant seating position can only be controlled within certain limits. Finite element simulations, consisting of detailed computer models of a vehicle, the OMDB, the THOR crash test dummy, and relevant restraints and interiors were used. Advanced design of experiment methods were applied to determine the importance of parameters and their effect on the vehicle and occupant criteria.

THOR-50M Durability Report

This study evaluates the durability of the THOR-50M in elevated energy qualification tests. The durability baseline tests for each body region were performed according the procedures described in the THOR 50th Percentile Male THOR-50M Qualification Procedures Manual.  Baseline tests were run at the qualification speed and the durability tests were performed at speeds corresponding to energy level increases of 10 percent, 20 percent, and 30 percent. A final baseline test was performed at the prescribed standard qualification test velocity. The two baseline tests were compared to determine if deterioration in the components could be detected in the data. To allow for recovery of parts after impacts, the minimum wait time between tests followed the prescribed allowance in the Qualification Procedures Manual.

Vehicle Bumper Performance in Part 581 vs. Pedestrian Leg Protection

The objective of this study was to determine if it was possible for a single bumper design to perform well with respect to both pedestrian protection and Part 581 bumper damageability requirements.  This possibility was investigated by testing various bumper configurations for a “global platform” vehicle, the Ford Focus, following both the European New Car Assessment Programme Pedestrian Testing Protocol and the CFR 49 Part 581 Bumper Standard. The findings indicated that while there were some differences depending on impact location, the E.U. and U.S. versions performed similarly in both lower and upper legform testing.  In Part 581 bumper damageability testing, due to the softer central area and intrusion of the bumper pendulum into the hood, the E.U. version sustained much higher forces and more damage than the U.S. version.  While they were much higher than the U.S. version, the E.U. version forces were below Part 581 limits; however, the damage was significant.

Investigation of Potential Design and Performance Criteria for Booster Seats Through Volunteer and Dynamic Testing

This report explores candidate booster performance metrics that have the potential to identify less effective booster systems, since current FMVSS No. 213 booster performance requirements can be met without a booster. Volunteer testing of belt fit and posture along with dynamic sled tests of booster seats was used. Posture and belt fit were measured in 24 children 4 to 12 years old, measured in three vehicles and three laboratory seating conditions. Six different booster seats, as well as the no-booster condition, were evaluated. Test conditions were also evaluated using 6YO, 10YO, and small female anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs). Minor posture differences between children and ATDs were greater in the no-booster condition and the two lower backless boosters compared to the four boosters. To provide a more realistic test environment, dynamic testing using a surrogate seat belt retractor on the most recent preliminary design update for the FMVSS No. 213 seat assembly evaluated 11 boosters as well as the no-booster condition, with six tests performed using the Hybrid III 10YO and 33 tests run with the Hybrid III 6YO.

Crash Avoidance Technology Evaluation Using Real-World Crashes

This study analyzes the safety benefits of a variety of crash avoidance safety technologies available on GM light-duty vehicles. The study used data on optional safety content from 1.2 million GM vehicles linked to police-reported crash data by Vehicle Identification Numbers to estimate field performance of new safety technologies equipped on the vehicles. In general, the outcomes support the hypothesis that crash avoidance technologies can help drivers mitigate or avoid the types of crashes the systems were designed to address and therefore have overall positive safety benefits.

Functional Safety Assessment of a Generic Accelerator Control System with Electronic Throttle Control in Electric Vehicles

This report, one of a series of five reports, describes research assessing functional safety of accelerator control systems with electronic faults, such as errant electronic throttle control signals, focusing on errant signals in motor vehicles with electric propulsion. This study follows the concept phase process in the ISO 26262 standard and applies a hazard and operability study, functional failure modes and effects analysis, and systems theoretic process analysis methods. In total, this study identifies 7 vehicle-level safety goals and 202 ACS/ETC system safety requirements (an output of the ISO 26262 and STPA processes). This study uses the results of the analysis to identify potential opportunities to improve the risk assessment approach in the ISO 26262 standard.