The Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) defines crash tests to assess the impact performance of highway safety features in frontal and oblique impact events. Within MASH, the risk of injury to the occupant is assessed based on a “flail-space” model that estimates the average deceleration that an unrestrained occupant would experience when contacting the vehicle interior in a MASH crash test and uses the parameter as a surrogate for injury risk. MASH occupant risk criteria, however, are considered conservative in their nature, due to the fact that they are based on unrestrained occupant accelerations. Therefore, there is potential for increasing the maximum limits dictated in MASH for occupant risk evaluation.

A frontal full-scale vehicle impact was performed with inclusion of an instrumented anthropomorphic test device (ATD). The scope of this study was to investigate the performance of the Flail Space Model in a full scale crash test compared to the instrumented ATD recorded forces which can more accurately predict the occupant response during a collision event.

Results obtained through this research will be considered for better correlation between vehicle accelerations and occupant injury. This becomes extremely important for designing and evaluating barrier systems that must fit within geometrical site constraints, which do not provide adequate length to redirect test vehicles according to MASH conservative evaluation criteria.

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