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Bo Truong

Period 3
CAD Engineering 2

Vehicle Safety Ratings and Procedures

Over the entire history of the automobile, there have been numerous
changes to vehicle safety ratings and procedures. While many of these
changes have been long lasting, there are also those that were unsuccessful.
Ratings, regulations, and procedures are constantly changing and adapting
to keep up with the innovative motor vehicle industry. Improvements are
always being made and new ways of keeping people safe are being
discovered. Nowadays, most of our safety features are computer aided, but
in the past they had to be a lot more creative. In the future, there are
expected to be cars that will be able to drive themselves. Hopefully making
driving a lot safer for everyone. The history of car safety began after the first
fatal car accident was recorded, involving Mary Ward, and Irish Scientist in
the 1869. She fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by
her cousins. The first turning signals were created by Buick in 1937, but
motor vehicles have been around for 100+ years. Seatbelts were not legally
required to be worn either until 1968. Hydraulic brake systems became the
first car safety requirement when they were first introduced back in 1922.
Other safety features throughout history include safety glass in 1930, the
padded dashboard in 1937, standard disc brakes in 1949, and optional
headrests for the front seat in 1959. General Motors performed the first
barrier crash test in 1934. The Department of Transportation (DOT) was
established in 1996 and the National Transportation Safety Board in 1967,
though it would later become known as the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration in 1969. These, and some other safety boards and
administrations are responsible for creating stricter rules for automakers.
Crash protection features provide higher levels of crash safety for
drivers and passengers in case of an accident. Some of these features
include, but are not limited to crumple zones, strong occupant
compartments, side impact protections, seatbelts, airbags, and headrests.
Crumple zones are used to absorb crash energy, thus protecting drivers and
passengers in frontal, rear, and offset crashes. Crumple zones are by far the
biggest crash protection features on a motor vehicle. Strong occupant
compartment ensures that the cabin of the car keeps its shape, the steering

column, dashboard, roof pillars, pedals, and floor panels are not pushed
inward, injuring the driver and/or passengers. Also, doors remain closed
during a crass, but are easily opened afterward, especially in the case of an
emergency rescue. Side impact protection increases door strength, internal
padding, and better seats, which are all important during car accident.
Seatbelts, when worn properly, also provide great protection but they do not
always prevent injury. Safety features found on seatbelts are webbing
clamps, pretensioners, load limiters, and seat belt warning systems. Airbags
are not substitutes for seat belts. When a properly worn seatbelt is combined
with an airbag, great protection during a frontal crash is provided. Head
rests, when adjusted correctly, can prevent whiplash in rear impact crashes.
Sometimes owners modify their vehicles to "enhance their appearance" or to
accommodate someone with a disability to make the vehicle more easily
accessible. These types of modifications must follow a specific set of rules
and guidelines created by the Department of Transportation and deemed
safe enough to drive on the road.
A passive restraint is a safety device, like a crumple zone, padding
inside the car, or special seat belt that is activated automatically to protect
an automobile passenger at the moment of impact when a collision occurs.
Seat belts are meant to hold the occupants bodies in place during the first
seconds of a collision. Crumple zones absorb the impact of the collision by
allowing the outer tin parts of the engine bay, trunk, doors, and the floor and
ceiling, to reduce the force of impact and redirect it around the passengers
compartment. The padding inside the car, which is fire resistant, is meant to
prevent scuffs and injuries. An active restraint device is a safety device that
does not active on its own, like a pretentioner, an air bag, or active head
restraints. A pretentioner is a pyro technic mechanism that, upon impact,
tightens the seatbelt, therefor reducing slack. Air bags inflate upon collision
to contain the upper body of the passengers, and soften the blow. At the
same time, air bags can be and have been, very dangerous. Air bags in
frontal systems are not designed for young children, or small people who do
not meet the safety requirements to be able to sit in the front seat of a motor
vehicle. Frontal air bag systems have proven to be dangerous and even fatal
for those who do not follow the rules. The final example of an active restraint
device is an active head restraint. These work like a pretentioner or air bag
by pushing the head restraint against your neck. They sometimes even
recline the back of the seat all together.
Crash safety and it's regulations are very important, and taken very
seriously in the the United States. Motor vehicles are given safety ratings by

the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance

Institute for Highway Safety. These ratings are determined by a series of five
tests conducted to find a cars crashworthiness. Crash safety is the ability of a
motor vehicle to protect its driver and passengers in the case of a collision. A
car's rating is based on its performance in the following: moderate overlap
front, small overlap front, side, crash avoidance, and head restraint. All crash
tests, and the entire history of crash safety tests are recorded in a database
kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety. These records are open and
made accessible to the general public as they become available.