Crash test “dummies” are smarter than their nickname implies. Also known as Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs), crash test dummies are sophisticated devices packed with sensors and have joints and weight distribution designed to mimic a real human body. ARCCA engineers use ATDs in controlled experiments to help understand how different scenarios result in different forces on the human body. ARCCA biomechanics experts use these measurements to analyze the injury potential for different scenarios.

Consider a scenario where a bus driver braked to avoid a collision. Later, a passenger on the bus claims that they suffered injuries when the sudden braking caused them to fall forward into a barrier on the bus. ARCCA experts were asked to investigate this claim and used an ATD to measure the forces that would be involved in such a scenario.

Steps Taken

  • ARCCA engineers examined the subject bus, including the seat and barrier involved in the incident.
  • An ARCCA test engineer constructed an identical barrier in a test vehicle.
  • Engineers conducted a series of experiments using an ATD and the test vehicle to simulate the accident, as described by the claimant and other witnesses and as seen in video footage of the accident.
  • The experiments successfully ran an experiment where the ATD moved in the same manner as the claimant during the accident, and also simulated more severe accidents.
  • Biomechanics experts compared measurements from the ATD to accelerations associated with other common activities and injury criteria in published literature.




Final Findings

Even in tests designed to be more severe than the actual accident, the force and acceleration measurements from the ATD were found to be lower than the injury criteria for the claimed injuries and lower than many common activites. ARCCA experts concluded that the incident was no more likely to have caused the claimant’s injuries than other activities that the claimant had participated in.

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