Indian Journal of Community Medicine

: 2016  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 165--166

Why India needs crashworthy vehicles

Chandrashekhar K Thorbole 
 Biomechanics and Occupant Protection, Thorbole Simulation Technologies LLC, Rogers, Arkansas, USA

Correspondence Address:
Chandrashekhar K Thorbole
Biomechanics and Occupant Protection, Thorbole Simulation Technologies LLC, Rogers, Arkansas

How to cite this article:
Thorbole CK. Why India needs crashworthy vehicles.Indian J Community Med 2016;41:165-166

How to cite this URL:
Thorbole CK. Why India needs crashworthy vehicles. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jan 16 ];41:165-166
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Crashworthiness is the ability of a vehicle's design to protect its occupant during a crash scenario. In the past, Dehaven (1952) and Franchini (1969) [1],[2] have shown the importance of maintaining the structural integrity of the occupant compartment for enhanced occupant protection during a crash. The main focus involves stronger structure with enhanced compartment safety countermeasures.

As per the report from the World Health Organization (WHO), [3],[4] road traffic injuries will be ranked third after heart disease and depression by 2020. India is among the leading countries for traffic-related deaths that costs a lot to India per year. [5] Social losses to India on account of these crashes are estimated at over 100,000 crores annually or 3% of its gross domestic product (GDP). These casualties are rising by 5.5% annually.

The Haddon Matrix provides valuable information regarding the factors involved in the precrash, crash, and postcrash phases of an accident dictating the injury outcome. [6] It is clear from this framework that during the crash phase, it is the crashworthy features of the vehicle design that dictate the occupant protection level. For example, the crash data collected by an Indian automotive manufacturer on the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway show vehicle rollover as a leading accident type in 2011. [7] The data conclude that high speed and tire burst are the leading precrash factors causing rollovers. The data show a higher percentage of occupant injuries in these accidents, clearly showing the lack of crashworthy vehicle design that would have protected occupants in rollover crashes. Stronger roof structure and an enhanced restraint system preventing an occupant's partial ejection are the preferred crashworthy features to enhance occupant protection in rollover crashes. Advanced features such as rollover-activated seatbelt pretensioner, curtain airbags, "all belts to seat" (ABTS) seatbelts, and a stronger roof are proven to increase occupant protection in rollover crashes. [8],[9],[10]

I would like to emphasize again that it is the crashworthy vehicle design features that prevent occupant fatality or disabling injury and not the precrash conditions causing the accident. Certainly, crashworthy vehicle design ensures the reduction of loss of productivity arising from crash-induced disabling injuries. This is why crashworthy vehicle design is a necessity for India and its growing economy.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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