Understanding the Influence of Seat Belt Geometries on Belt-to-Pelvis Angle Can Help Prevent Submarining

Authors Abstract
The first objective of this study, addressed in Part 1, is to use finite element (FE) human body modeling (HBM) to evaluate the tangent of the Belt-to-Pelvis angle (tanθBTP) as a submarining predictor in frontal crashes for occupants in reclined seats. The second objective, addressed in Part 2, is to use this predictor to assess two technical solutions for reducing submarining risks for two different occupant anthropometries.
In Part 1, tanθBTP (the lap belt penetration from the anterior superior iliac spine [ASIS] in the abdominal direction) was evaluated in impact simulations with varying seat belt anchor positions. Sled simulations with a 56 km/h full-frontal crash pulse were performed with the SAFER HBM morphed to the anthropometry of a small female and average male. A correlation was found between the submarining predictor and submarining.
In Part 2, the anti-submarining solutions (i) split buckle belt system and (ii) anchor moving system were evaluated using the submarining predictor from Part 1. The split buckle belt system was found to reduce the tanθBTP on the buckle side, due to the disconnection from the diagonal shoulder belt force. The anchor moving system, in contrast, was found to reduce the tanθBTP for both buckle and lap sides. Thus both systems reduced submarining risk.
Part 1 showed that the tanθBTP is an accurate geometry-based submarining predictor. Part 2 demonstrated that both the split buckle belt system and the anchor moving system reduce submarining risks, as predicted by the tanθBTP.
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Saito, H., Pipkorn, B., and Lubbe, N., "Understanding the Influence of Seat Belt Geometries on Belt-to-Pelvis Angle Can Help Prevent Submarining," Transportation Safety 10(2):463-481, 2022, https://doi.org/10.4271/09-10-02-0017.
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Apr 13, 2022
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Journal Article