Injuries to the neck in car to car collisions are becoming one of the most aggravating traffic safety problems with serious implications for the European society. Neck injuries in traffic accidents result in human suffering and high societal costs. Yearly millions of European citizens suffer from neck injuries caused by a car accident. The economical costs for the European society are estimated in order of five to ten billion ECU annual. One third, and in some countries even more, of all injury insurance claims are related to neck injuries. A significant part, 50%, of these neck injuries occur in rear-end collisions. In contrast to frontal and lateral collisions, no vehicle safety standards for rear-end collisions exist to protect the car occupant. Results of a recent EG-project, "Whiplash-Reduction of neck injuries and their social costs in rear-end collisions" has been initiated, with as general objective to generate new knowledge to minimize the incidence and the costs of neck injuries in rear-end collisions. Results of this project however will alter carseat design of cars in the future. It will take some years untill new cars with improved protection to the neck will be available on the market, and since it will take some more years before these new cars become substantial part of the car fleet. So the effects of this project will not be effective on short term. Therefore this project aimes to develop a "Whiplash Prevention System" which can be installed in current cars. So the general objective of this project is to develop an interim solution which can be installed in most (90%) cars of the current car fleet. The overall objective will be achieved by developing a costeffective whiplash protecting systems to be installed in almost all current cars. In contrast to the above mentioned "Whiplash-project" this project will only develop interim solutions, designed as replacement elements for current vehicles. The current carfleet comprises a great range of types of seats and headrestraints, produced by a great number of carseat and headrest manufacturers. This while the manufactoring of seats and headrests on worldwide and European scale is controlled by a single groep of companies. The wide range of types of current seats and headrests yet demands an universal solution. Specific results of this project include: Primary: Development of an universal headrestraint offering an improved protection of the neck in rear-end collisions. An expected effectiveness of 50 to 80%. The headrestraint is an interim solution that can be placed in almost all current cars. The headrestraint will be cost-effective to encourage buying behaviour and penetrate fast into the current carfleet upto a high degree. Cost of a headrestraint should cost maximal e.g. 100 EC, with an estimated annual productivity on investment of 15 to 21%. Development of computer simulations to evaluate most important characteristics of the WPS-system. Experimental tests at different speeds that prove the effectiveness and safe operation of the system. Secundary Development of a whole car seat with an improved crash-behavior and regarding ergonomic aspects. The developed system, headrestraint, together with the concept of an improved whole seat offers an additional basis for current and further developments in a more final solution. The consortium comprises a manufacturer of covers, canvas, sails, carhoods, and kites, two manufacturers of special carseats, a manufactuer of technical springs and carseatsprings and -parts, an industrial designing company, a company that initiated the project and registered the patents, and the Mechanical department of the University of Graz (Graz Technical University, Institute for Mechanics). Proposed approach: Most critical in the project is finding the optimal combination of cost-effectiveness and protectioneffectiveness. A further critical point is that the system must be applicable in 90% of the current cars. That means regarding adjustability and wide range of mountings are to be covered. To meet this critical points knowledge of whiplash is essential. 1) consensus and specifaications, including investigation of relevant literature and publications, injury criteria, inputs for experimental tests, and designing first basic prototype versions. 2) establishing computer models and simulations 3) prototyping activity 4) validation of effectiveness 5) guideliness and final results.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
3992 DE Houten
4816 KB Breda
4841 JS Prinsenbeek