Road traffic is almost universally seen as negative, for which many in Europe propose technological solutions, particularly in safety terms. In spite of improvements, measures remain optimised for 'average' occupants; hence, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) has supported four projects aiming to enhance safety for people of all sizes. Acting as a coordinator for those projects was the EU-funded project 'Coordination of vehicle and road safety initiatives' (COVER) . The projects collectively addressed issues where variation from the biometric average affects safety, specifically: adult thoracic injuries and restraints for children. COVER coordinated the projects, especially concerning joint collection and analysis of data. In addition, the project developed a consistent direction of research, accelerated implementation of findings and organised joint dissemination to key stakeholders regarding new test methods. The seven-member consortium began work in 2009 and concluded in 2013. The first activity was coordination of an accident survey affecting two projects. Results were presented at a conference and to a relevant industry group. In addition, COVER compiled a list of over 700 stakeholder representatives, maintained for all targeted projects. Soon after commencement, the consortium launched a public website. Other dissemination work included production of five annual newsletters, and one leaflet, aimed at the automotive community. Furthermore, the project organised public workshops on child and thoracic injuries. Results of the workshops were also published as proceedings. In addition, the group organised a series of stakeholder visits and meetings, the outcomes of which were forwarded to Euro NCAP. Hence, the use of female-analogue crash test dummies has been included in future protocols. Additional proposed improvements included use of abdominal sensors and various other dummy modifications. The dummy-related achievements are considered a key success of the project. As a result of COVER, research work among the four automotive safety projects has been more effectively coordinated and disseminated. The joint communication has resulted in important modifications to crash-test protocols being implemented, leading to improved safety for all car occupants.
Crash testing, automotive injuries, road safety, biometric average, thoracic injuries, crash test dummies, abdominal sensors, car occupant