EuroNCAP Testing Procedures Explained
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Well, apparently not that many people look beyond those "stars" and crash ratings, and not that many people know how the crash testing actually takes place. Last time we informed you about the NHTSA and IIHS crash testing procedures, which take place in the US. Now it's the time to review the NCAP crash-testing procedures, mainly through its European branch.
Just like its overseas counterparts, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is a non-profit organization. It was founded in 1997 by the Transport Research Laboratory for the British Department for Transport, but it is now backed by the European Commission and the governments of seven European countries. Another similarity to its counterparts from the US consists of the variety of crash tests performed on the cars. There is a frontal impact, two side impacts - one of which is with a pole - and a pedestrian impact test. Let's take a look at them one by one:
The subsequent barrier is technically a still block fitted with a deformable aluminium-honeycomb frontal area. The impact tries to replicate the most frequent type of road accident: when two cars collide with each other head-on in an offset manner.
Technically, only 40 percent of the car's frontal area impacts the deformable barrier, simulating a car to car collision with each vehicle traveling at around 55 km/h. Using a 95-percentile male dummy as a driver and one as a front passenger, the tested vehicle's ability to pass this conundrum without passenger compartment intrusion is crucial. Forced acting on the two passengers are also measured.
Car to Car Side Impact
Euro NCAP doesn't specify the actual weight of the MDB, but it's safe to assume it is in the tested car's ball park, if not even identical, since the results are only comparable with cars from the same class. The injury protection of the dummy in the driver's seat is assessed by looking at the levels and extent of intrusion of the MDB in the impacted vehicle and how controlled is the side intrusion.
Pole Side Impact
Before 2009, its results were used only as an addition to the side impact score, but as of this year the pole test is mandatory and it now includes testing other potential injuries to critical body parts as well, such as the chest or the abdomen.
The procedure consists of the tested car being projected sideways at a speed of 29 km/h (18 mph) into a rigid and relatively narrow pole.
The aftermath of this impact of course almost disastrous to the vehicle's structural integrity, and in a car not equipped with head protecting airbags the driver is very likely to actually experience a fatal or near fatal injury.
The EuroNCAP pedestrian safety test consists of a number of simulations for every individual component of a dummy in case of being hit by the tested automobile at 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph). There are actually three individual crash tests using portions of a dummy called Legform, Upper Legform and Headform.
The Legform is used to asses the amount of protection the car's front bumper is offering to the lower leg part of the pedestrian being hit, while the Upper Legform is struck by the vehicle's leading edge of the bonnet. Headforms are of course used to asses the impact of the bonnet's top area of the car hitting the pedestrian.
What Else is There?
On top of the Frontal, Car to Car Side, Pole Side and the Pedestrian impact, the EuroNCAP crash testing ratings also take into account child protection by using ISOFIX child-seats, whiplash protection in the case of an impact coming from the rear. The final ratings get extra points when the tested car benefits from a standard electronic stability control system, seat belt reminders and/or any type of speed limitation devices.
Now, instead of a conclusion, you just need to understand that no crash test represents an indisputable proof of a car's safety, since all tests are done in a controlled environment and all follow certain given rules. In other words, you shouldn't base your opinion of a car's safety just by checking its crash test ratings, no matter how good they appear to be, because in real life no accident is exactly the same as the other. Crash test ratings sure do help a lot though.
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comments written so far
On 8 January 2010 at 14:28 UTC, Suf said:
This is a very useful information, it can be used to educate people especially for the young generation.
Beware of Safety while driving !....
Beware of Safety while driving !....
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