Car Crash Tests

Posted & filed under Knowledge Center.

Crash Test Photo of Chery AmuletThe Chinese sedan, the Chery Amulet is an example of why crash testing is vital to the automobile industry and to the motoring public. The results of its crash testing revealed serious flaws in the structural integrity of its design which would have resulted in high injury and fatality rates.

NHTSA and IIHS Crash Test Video Clips
2009 Dodge Ram Crash Test
2009 Ford Escape Frontal Test
2009 Honda Fit Crash Test
2009 Kia Borrego Frontal and Side
2009 Subaru Forester Side Impact Test
Holding Infant in Lap During a Crash.
Crash Dummy Video Clip

Crash Test Results
Government agencies and private institutions perform crash tests on vehicles and study their outcome, rating vehicles in a variety of crash situations which simulate real-world collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts crash and rollover tests and assigns each model a grade according to its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). In the NCAP program, each model is rated according to a five-star scale. All vehicles sold in the US must pass federal motor vehicle safety standards in frontal and side impact crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit organization supported by automobile insurance underwriters to compare automobile makes and models in the categories of fatalities, injuries, and property damage. They test vehicles in three categories: front, side, and rear end collisions. To receive their “Top Safety Pick” rating, vehicles must achieve a “good” rating in all three categories, plus have Electronic Stability Control.

In the real world, no two car crashes are identical, so developing a set of simulations to predict how vehicles will survive will only give an approximation of what happens to passenger compartments, passengers, fuel tanks, and crumple zones in real collisions. The contribution that crash testing makes to the public is to uncover significant flaws in design which require significant expense to repair when damages and pose a threat to occupant safety.

Work done to improve SUV design has significantly improved their resistance to rollovers, as demonstrated by the recent Forbes Top 5 Safety Picks. The NHTSA is instrumental in assuring that any new car imported into the US is not designed to allow this to happen.