The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S Department of Transportation is the federal agency in charge of regulating automobile safety in the United States. There are many facets to NHTSA. A general overview of these facets and functions can be found at NHTSA’s home page.
NHTSA Home Page: http://www.nhtsa.gov/
VEHICLE SAFETY RATINGS
Vehicles safety ratings are conducted under NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program [NCAP], which rates vehicles for rollover stability and crashworthiness in frontal impacts and side.
NHTSA Vehicle Safety Ratings: http://www.safercar.gov/Safety+Ratings
CRASH TEST DATABASE
Crash tests form the basis for the frontal and side impact crashworthiness in the NCAP vehicle safety ratings. These crash tests, as well as rear crash tests for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard [FMVSS] 301 can be found at NHTSA’s crash test database.
NHTSA Crash Test Database: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Research/Databases+and+Software
RECALLS AND DEFECTS
One of NHTSA’s functions is investigating and issuing recalls for defective automobile products. A defect may be reported and consumers can query automobiles for defects.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the leading independent testing organization in the U.S. that rates vehicles using test configurations which more often match the types of crashes vehicles experience on the highways.
The IIHS has many divisions and functions and those are described on their Home Page website at:
Very useful pages on the IIHS site are:
Consumer brochures & videos
Research & stats
Laws & regs
Status Report Newsletter Archives
The IIHS also presents the results of their crash tests on their website in a comparative format at the “Vehicle Ratings” link:
IIHS Vehicle Rating: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings
The NATIONAL CRASH ANALYSIS CENTER of the George Washington University has a number of premier teaching, and other automobile safety functions on the national level, as described on its home website at:
NCAC Home Page: http://www.ncac.gwu.edu/ncac/
The NCAC is also the physical repository of all the NHTSA crash tests, as well as those from the FHWA and other sources which emphasize many other types of barriers and impact objects.
The NCAC Crash Test Database links to the NHTSA search engine for those tests which originated at NHTSA. Including a search of both the NHTSA and NCAC sites is instructive when investigating a crash event.
In addition, the NCAC Library at http://www.ncac.gwu.edu/filmlibrary/ contains a large number of scientific and technical citations which cannot generally be found elsewhere.
With the market for automobiles now world-wide, the EuroNCAP program provides large amounts of comparative safety data for many of the cars imported into the United States. The EuroNCAP is ahead of U.S. safety programs in a number of safety areas.
Car to Car Side impact
Pole Side Impact
Types of dummies
Seat belt reminders
Speed limitation devices
General information on EuroNCAP can be found at http://www.euroncap.com/home.aspx
A particular area where EuroNCAP is ahead of the U.S. is that of rear impact/whiplash protection. An introduction to the EuroNCAP Whiplash tests are at http://www.euroncap.com/whiplash.aspx
The history of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is given at:
The SAE conducts numerous conferences and venues to present and publish technical papers on many aspects of transportation technology, including automotive safety engineering.
In addition to meeting transactions, the SAE sponsors technical committees, standards committees, and otherwise publishes widely, all of which are explained on, and available through, the SAE Home Page at:
The many types of materials published by the SAE, including the SAE papers cited in this website, can be ordered on the SAE “Marketplace/Store” website at:
The history of the Association for Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) is given at:
The AAAM hosts one major annual conference in the fall every year and the papers presented are published both in hard-copy and e-format in the yearly Proceedings; and, in addition, the AAAM sponsors a number of courses, all explained on their website at:
AAAM is also the focal point for developing, updating and teaching the generally accepted crash-caused Abbreviated Injury Scale [AIS] which is explained further at:
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is one of the premier transportation research institutes in the United States. The history and status of UMTRI are given at:
The UMTRI Library is very extensive with many links to other transportation libraries around the country and world. The Library’s website is:
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