Applying first principles for the design of crashworthy systems for road safety
The road toll in terms of deaths and serious injury arise from impacts that result in transfers of forces that are in excess of human tolerance values. Effective and efficient injury prevention measures therefore must bring the energy and force transfer down to tolerable levels.
The most direct methods for doing so firstly recognise the laws of physics and engineering involved in impacts and secondly draw on fundamental physical principles for effective countermeasure development. In considering countermeasure options for reducing the harm potential in crashes certain design concepts need to be kept in mind to ensure the effectiveness of any proposals.
This paper reviews some of these fundamental principles, and demonstrates their applicability by reference to the range of crashes occurring on the road today. The paper discusses the need for safety researchers, vehicle, and infrastructure designers to recognise and apply these principles to reduce current system failures leading to serious injury.