Effect of Delta-V Errors in NASS on Frontal Crash Risk Calculations


Funk JR, Cormier JM, and Gabler HC


52nd Annual Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, Oct., San Diego, California. 2008:155-164


The most important factor in predicting the risk of injury or death in a frontal crash is the crash severity, which is expressed as the velocity change, or delta-V, experienced by the vehicle during the crash. The National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) is the largest database in the world linking injury outcomes with delta-Vs, which are obtained from field reconstructions. The accuracy of these reconstructions was assessed by analyzing 228 NASS cases involving single event frontal crashes in which the vehicle’s frontal delta-V was also measured directly by an onboard event data recorder (EDR). Compared to the EDR measurements, the delta-V values in NASS averaged 19% lower with a standard deviation of 8.6 kph. The effect of this error on injury and fatality risk calculations was investigated using NASS data from 1997 – 2006 for frontal crashes with a known delta-V. Injury and fatality risk functions were calculated by curve fitting the distributions of the delta-V values associated with injury and fatality incidence normalized by the fitted crash exposure distribution. Individual delta-V values were linearly scaled to correct for the bias error, and the delta-V distributions were corrected for scatter error using a numerical deconvolution technique. Correcting for delta-V bias error shifted the calculated risk curves to the right and correcting for delta-V scatter error shifted the curves back to the left, but to a lesser extent. The effects of occupant age, gender, and belt use on injury and fatality risk were substantial.

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