Computer finite element simulations play an important role in reducing the cost and time taken for prediction of a crash scenario. While interior crash protection has received adequate attention for automobiles, very little is known for commercial vehicle such as heavy trucks. The understanding of injury types for heavy trucks occupants in relation to different crash scenarios would help mitigation of the injury severity.

Finite element computer models of the heavy truck cabin structure, interior cabin components, anthropomorphic test device (ATD) (also called dummy) and passive restraint systems were developed and assembled to simulate head-on crash of a heavy truck into a rigid barrier. The researchers developed a computer simulation parametric evaluation with respect to specific seat belt restraint system parameters for a speed impact of 56.3 km/h (35 mph). Restraint parameter variations within this research study are seat belt load limiting characteristics, inclusion of seat belt pretensioner, and variation of seat belt D-ring location. Additionally an airbag was included to investigate another restraint system. For each simulated impact characteristic and restraint system variation, the occupant kinematics were observed and occupant risks were assessed.

Within the approximations and assumptions included in this study, the results presented in this paper should be considered as preliminary guidance on the effectiveness of the use of seat belt as occupant injury mitigation system.

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