Fri Aug 30 09:32:36 EDT 2002

I don't agree with your summary dave, few engineers would.  The BIGGEST
difference to crash survival is MASS.  The stiffness of the larger vehicles
isn't for the testing, it's for the weight/design of the vehicle vs occupants
of that vehicle.  The occupants of the "other" vehicle really aren't a design
parameter (well the rear crash bar on the 18 wheelers might be an exception),
too many variables to figure that out.  In house testing usually assumes two
identical vehicles.  The "independent" lab tests that do the tests for public
consumption is a vehicle and a wall, not another vehicle.  Doing tests with 2
different vehicles would create fear in a lot of folks, and we'd all be
driving Excursions.

The offset test isn't really the *main* focus of engineers.  Statistically,
replicating that scenario in real world is a tough argument to make.  The
head on is a different story, and many a engineer has had toyota trucks in
the war room (they do really well).  I also remember too, on a in-law visit
to Auburn Hills, a laser diced A4 at D-Chrysler.

Scott J

D. Eaton writes:
however, due to the ncap insistence on only 2 tests (offset and side), and
the public's addiction to the "star" scoring system, they virtually obligate
engineers to build cars focused on the magic 5-star metric, at the penalty
of other, arguably more important, safety measures.  for instance, the
heavier the vehicle, the more difficult it is to get good ratings on the
offset test, so engineers are increasingly making their large vehicles very
"stiff" to get the good scores.  this is causing considerable concern
because, in an impact with a lighter vehicle, this will almost certainly
result in greater chance of injury in the other vehicle, where a "softer"
impact structure wouldn't..

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