Title: Pregnant driver injury investigations through modelling and simulation of full-frontal crashes with and without airbags

Authors: B. Serpil Acar, Volkan Esat

Addresses: Loughborough University, LE11 3TU, UK. ' Loughborough University, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: Road traffic accidents have become an increasingly important element in maternal deaths. It is important to investigate the injury mechanisms and injury levels that pregnant women may be subjected to in order to improve transport safety. The three dimensional computational model |Expecting|, which embodies a detailed multi-body model of a fetus in a finite element model of uterus with a placenta, is developed at Loughborough University. The model is designed to simulate dynamic loading conditions that pregnant occupants may experience. In this study, |Expecting| is used to study the kinematics of pregnant occupants to predict the injury levels to the pregnant driver in frontal crashes. The implications of |No Restraint|, |Seat Belt Only| and |Seat Belt and Airbag| cases are investigated for various crash severities, from 15 to 45 kph. Crash analysis injury criteria such as head injury criterion (HIC), 3 ms maximum, combined thoracic index (CTI) and viscous criterion (max VC) are used. The results suggest that the frontal airbag together with the correctly worn seatbelt provide better protection for the pregnant drivers.

Keywords: road accidents; multi-body modelling; simulation; pregnant drivers; injury mechanisms; injury levels; vehicle safety; seatbelts; frontal airbags; head injury criterion; HIC; 3 ms; combined thoracic index; CTI; max VC; viscous criterion; full-frontal crashes; maternal deaths; finite element method; FEM; fetus modelling; dynamic loading; head injuries; kinematics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFMS.2011.041634

International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, 2011 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.3 - 13

Published online: 28 Jul 2011 *

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