Neck injury remains a major issue in road safety. Current side impact dummies and side impact crashworthiness assessments do not assess the risk of neck injury. These assessments are limited by biofidelity and knowledge regarding neck injury criteria and tolerance levels in side impacts. Side impact tests with PMHS were performed at the Heidelberg University in the 1980s and 1990s to improve primarily the understanding of trunk dynamics, injury mechanisms and criteria. In order to contribute to the definition of human tolerances at neck level, this study presents an analysis of the head/neck biomechanical parameters that were measured in these tests and their relationship to neck injury severity.
Data from 15 impact tests were analysed. Head accelerations, and neck forces and moments were calculated from 9-accelerometer array head data, X-rays and anthropometric data. Statistically significant relationships were observed between resultant head acceleration and neck force and neck injury severity. The average resultant head acceleration for AIS 2 neck injuries was 112g, while resultant neck force was 4925 N and moment 241 Nm. The data compared well to other test data on cadavers and volunteers. It is hoped that the paper will assist in the understanding of neck injuries and the development of tolerance criteria.