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Re: NHTSA Crash Test Results for Audi 1985-1989 ?

> So far as I can tell, the NHTSA tested one Audi 5000 in 1985 and
> measured a very high (2105) value for the "Head Injury Criterion" (HIC)
> on the driver's side (values around 400-500 are apparently required for
> a "Very Good" on this criterion).  The similar value for the passenger
> side was 557, and excellent (low) values were obtained for "Chest
> Deceleration" (CD) and "Femur Loads" (FL).
> The 1989 Audi 100 was tested, yielding a remarkably good value (185)
> for the driver's HIC, a slightly higher than previous value (710) for
> the passenger, slightly better CD for driver, same as previous for
> passenger, and significantly higher FL than 1985.
> The period between 1985 and 1989 is unaccounted for, however, since
> the NHTSA doesn't retest a car unless it is significantly redesigned.
> What design changes were made to reduce the HIC for the driver in their
> 1989 100?  And, along the same lines, why did the "FL" injury criteria
> get worse with the 100?  Is the 100/200 a significantly redesigned car
> from the 5000 (same question about the 80/90 versus 4000)?  I thought
> that the model "name" change occurred to avoid associations with the
> unintended acceleration publicity.
> Have there been other published crash test results for these cars?
> Although I'm reluctant to choose or avoid any given model based on a
> single crash test result (and there's only one, for any car), what else
> is there to use for guidance?

Probably the major contribution to the reduction in HICs is the addition 
of the Procon-Ten automatic seatbelt tensioning system, which I believe 
went in starting in 1989.  I much prefer a passive system like Procon-Ten 
to planting explosives inside the passenger compartment.  

Who knows why the other values changed in a negative way.  It seems to me 
that a single crash test will have a certain amount of variation from the 
next one.  How many cars must you smash to get a statistically significant
sample?  Why is it that every test assumes an accident will occur to eval-
uate how well a car does?  Where do the safety police evaluate how well a 
car (or driver for that matter) avoids an accident?  I have heard several 
tales told on this list of people who believe that an Audi *saved* the 
lives of either themselves or their loved ones.  

I believe that you have to take a more systematic look at the problem of
safety evalutation.  I am convinced that active safety is as important
as passive safety.  I am also convinced that AWD and ABS are two of the
best tools available for active safety (a powerful motor is a third ;).
Where can you find these characteristics?  I will also propose that you
can do as much by training yourself to be a more proficient driver as 
you can by spending a lot of time scouring the earth for the safest car.

And I think that this evaluation shows that Scott J. has some of the
*safest* cars in the world at his house! ;)

I hope you don't think I am flaming you ... I'm not.  I just think that
too much focus is spent on finding the safest car, which is only one
dimension of solving a multidimensional problem.  

Steve Buchholz
San Jose, CA (USA)