Transportation & Crashworthiness

While ARCCA’s transportation expertise in many areas is well known, it is often thought of in terms of the ‘traditional’ categories of automotive crashworthiness, accident reconstruction, and biomechanics, all of which are primarily related to the investigation of defects, seat belt use, and occupant injuries. However, while continuing in our role as the nation’s leading experts in the field of crashworthiness (with an emphasis on seats, seat backs, child seats, seat belts, submarining, pretensioners, load limiters, airbags, roof strength, and cargo retention), ARCCA’s experts have also established expertise in areas such as trucking, busing, aviation, construction, and maritime incidents, as well as general mechanical failure analysis.

Our Transportation team provides our clients with expert engineering access to all aspects of transportation-related incidents under one umbrella, whether it be an injury and/or defect analysis resulting from a heavy equipment incident (construction site, mining site); maritime issues (while at sea or at the dock); automotive crashes; or a vehicle mechanical failure (fatigue cracking of tire rims, hydraulic pinching, or improperly designed components). We are also experienced in incidents involving railroad crossing timing and aircraft crashworthiness issues (fixed wing and rotary wing/helicopters).

Our team’s scope of expertise also includes mechanical design, human factors, and biomechanics issues, as well as fire cause and origin in both the transportation and non-transportation environment. Of course, ARCCA’s Transportation team still remains the leader in crashworthiness incidents, such as seat back failure, roof crush, seat belt (geometry, load limiter/torsion bar), child restraint systems, seat bottom failure, cargo intrusion, inflatable restraints and head restraints.

Our Transportation experts have considerable government and industry experience in aircraft crash investigations for the US Navy, wherein we’ve conducted aircraft equipment evaluations under crash conditions, as well as restraint system performance testing. This experience continues to guide ARCCA’s experts in their investigation of crashes and component failures, regardless of the type of transportation device involved.

ARCCA has also assisted the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with ambulance crash research. This research has included evaluating the performance of restraint systems that will allow EMT’s to stand up if necessary while still remaining restrained, as well as gurney mounting systems and gurney restraining systems. In another research project with NIOSH we evaluated the mounting methods and locations of many of the pieces of equipment (oxygen cylinders, heart defibrillators, sharps containers, etc.) found within a typical ambulance to evaluate the injury risk potential of each during crashes. This work has led to the drafting and implementation of various industry recommended practices.

We have also been awarded numerous government contracts related to vehicle occupant crash protection, wherein we’ve performed research and testing regarding issues involving the Federal standards for automobiles, including seat backs and child seats. In addition, the US Army contracts have included conducting accident investigations and recommending seating redesigns, as well as performing research and creating guidelines for future vehicle seat designs that will improve occupant protection. An additional contract was specifically related to providing occupant blast protection from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s).