The European assessments of vehicle safety have fallen somewhat into discredit because they placed, e.g., a relatively high-priority on indicators warning when the safety belts are not used. The manufacturers who
had installed other measures, at substantially higher expenditure, in their vehicles, felt discriminated against. Nevertheless, an independent organisation of this nature is very important, it provides the consumer with a
comparison which he or she would otherwise not have, particularly not from manufacturers with lower safety standards.
|Kinetic energy increases with the square of the speed.|
The standardization also allows a safety orientated technical comparison between small and large vehicles, and provides thus, for an accelerated development of safety measures in the small vehicles. Most tests can
be observed only with the use of complicated measurements, e.g., the resistance of the car body against torsion. Nevertheless, through sporadic publication, a degree of success has been achieved, thus increasing
the safety consciousness of the manufacturers. As a result of pedestrian-impact tests e.g., the additional "cow-catcher" bumpers are slowly disappearing from off-road vehicles.
How it works
The most well known crash-test is probably the head-on collision, which is carried out, nowadays, at 64 km/h and only 50% offset. The side impact is carried out with a deformable ram onto the impact area at 50 km/h
(figure 1). The side impact using a 254-mm thick pole takes place at 29 km/h (figure 3) and the pedestrian-impact is done at 40 km/h onto the front-end (figure 4). Pedestrian dummies, as well as driver and
passenger dummies are used to determine exactly how serious the injuries to the individual parts of the body would be. Using this method, points are allocated, and of course, possible head injuries weigh especially
heavy. Also the seriousness of the injuries is included into the assessment. The points are then awarded up to a max. of 6 stars, almost like the Michelin-restaurant judgements. This is a much more appropriate
advertisement than an especially massive cow-catcher. 05/08