Frontal-Crash Occupant Protection in the Rear Seat: Submarining and Abdomen/Pelvis Response in Midsized Male Surrogates



67th Stapp Car Crash Conference
Authors Abstract
Frontal-crash sled tests were conducted to assess submarining protection and abdominal injury risk for midsized male occupants in the rear seat of modern vehicles. Twelve sled tests were conducted in four rear-seat vehicle-bucks with twelve post-mortem human surrogates (PMHS). Select kinematic responses and submarining incidence were compared to previously observed performance of the Hybrid III 50th-percentile male and THOR-50M ATDs (Anthropomorphic Test Devices) in matched sled tests conducted as part of a previous study. Abdominal pressure was measured in the PMHS near each ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine), in the inferior vena cava, and in the abdominal aorta. Damage to the abdomen, pelvis, and lumbar spine of the PMHS was also identified. In total, five PMHS underwent submarining. Four PMHS, none of which submarined, sustained pelvis fractures and represented the heaviest of the PMHS tested. Submarining of the PMHS occurred in two out of four vehicles. In the matched tests, the Hybrid III never underwent submarining while the THOR-50M submarined in three out of four vehicles. Submarining occurred in vehicles having both conventional and advanced (pretensioner and load limiter) restraints. The dominant factors associated with submarining were related to seat pan geometry. While the THOR-50M was not always an accurate tool for predicting submarining in the PMHS, the Hybrid III could not predict submarining at all. The results of this study identify substantive gaps in frontal-crash occupant protection in the rear seat for midsized males and elucidates the need for additional research for rear-seat occupant protection for all occupants.
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Guettler, A., Bianco, S., Albert, D., Boyle, D. et al., "Frontal-Crash Occupant Protection in the Rear Seat: Submarining and Abdomen/Pelvis Response in Midsized Male Surrogates," Stapp Car Crash Journal 67(1):112-170, 2023,
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Apr 17
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Journal Article