Abstract

Vehicle accidents remain a leading contribution to accidental deaths in the United States. Recently, there has been increased interest on how differences in cargo loading affect crash kinematics. This paper demonstrates that at a particular speed, increases in the vehicle cargo weight can influence the magnitude of the vehicle deformation. Larger deformations may involve greater intrusion into the occupant space. This increased intrusion may adversely affect the injury potential for the occupant by reducing survivable space and overcoming safety features. Additionally, an accident reconstructionist may need to consider the difference in cargo loading and distribution when calculating specific accident characteristics in their analyses. For example, the kinetic energy change between loaded and unloaded conditions is a feature of interest during vehicle collisions. These concepts were validated using Engineering Dynamic Company’s (EDC) Human, Vehicle, Environment (HVE) accident reconstruction software. The HVE analysis included simulating impacts of vehicles with varying cargo loads; HVE was also used to visualize the concepts described above. The case studies will have approximately similar BEV’s, crash speeds and other vehicle characteristics.

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