Pedestrian protection represents one the most intensively discussed issues in the European safety community, involving the European parliament, member state governments, consumer protection groups, research institutes, automobile manufacturers and engineers. Nobody can deny the need for protective measures to save some 9000 people’s lives annually in Europe. However, the question arises as to which technology is the most efficient to achieve this goal.
EEVC-WG17 has defined four component tests to quantify the protection potential of car fronts as a substitute for a full size vehicle impact. EuroNCAP has tested each car following these procedures assigning a star rating. The tests will prompt major modifications of passenger car fronts thereby partially conflicting with design features introduced in response to other requirements such as environmental protection.
After a detailed review of recent car-to-pedestrian accident data, it becomes evident that modern aerodynamic car front shapes reduce the injury risk, especially to the upper leg and pelvis.
Of more relative importance for severe to fatal injuries is the secondary impact of a pedestrian onto the road surface. We should investigate means to influence the kinematics without compromising certain vehicle designs.In order further to enhance pedestrian protection, we must look beyond passive safety measures alone
and give accident avoidance a much higher priority in cars. This can lead to the desired substantial progress. Nevertheless, pedestrian safety will remain a combined effort with all disciplines in traffic environment.
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