Heavy trucks (those having a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds) are an essential part of the United States economy and account for 4% of all registered vehicles. The large size and weight of these vehicles can pose a serious safety threat to the vehicle’s occupants in the event of a rollover collision. The rollover crashworthiness of heavy trucks, in particular the structural integrity of the cab, is analyzed in this paper. An actual rollover accident was analyzed and the cab design of an exemplar vehicle was evaluated. Modifications were made to the exemplar and an inverted drop test onto the roof of the cab was conducted. Recommendations for improving the rollover crashworthiness of heavy trucks are provided. An analysis of heavy truck rollover accidents was also conducted for data available from 1994-2002 by submitting queries to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which is administered by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), in order to determine the number of incapacitating and fatal injuries that occurred when the occupants were contained in the cab during a rollover accident. The percentage of incapacitating and fatal injuries for restrained occupants was determined by analyzing the rollover data obtained from the FARS rollover query that was used and was found to be 35%. Therefore, restrained occupants in heavy trucks can sustain significant injuries during rollover accidents, in part, due to insufficient rollover crashworthiness.

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