Seat Failure – Passenger Vehicles

ARCCA is the national leader in the field of rear impact crashworthiness. We have formally petitioned NHTSA to increase safety standards for rear impacts and have been featured on various news programs discussing the dangers of seat failure.

ARCCA is frequently called upon to investigate vehicle rear-end collisions, where a front seat passenger has received a brain or spinal cord injury or the person in the rear seat, is struck by the front passenger or the failed seat itself. ARCCA’s team for this type of case may consist of a seat design expert, a biomechanical expert and an accident reconstructionist. The accident reconstructionist determines what the forces and accelerations were and then works with the seat and biomechanical experts to determine if the seats were within a survivable range. A site inspection using Total Station is often required. Among other tools, the reconstructionist uses EDCRASH and EDSMAC to determine the delta-V, forces and accelerations inside the vehicle.

The seat expert determines if the failure was due to a design defect. Input from the reconstructionist is used to evaluate the forces applied to the seat during the impact.

If required, a feasible alternative design is developed and often tested along with the production model to evaluate the occupant motion and survivability.

The nature and specific injury to the head, spine or spinal cord is dependent upon the direction and force of a specific loading to the human body. By studying the injury and the specific circumstances, the ARCCA biomechanical expert can determine what event and body orientation relate to the specific injury and what threshold of force was required to cause such an injury. Using information from the reconstructionist and the seat expert, the biomechanical expert is able to determine the specific cause of the injury.

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