Revised assessment protocols for assessing ease-of-use in the Australian Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP): A countermeasure for child restraint misuse
In 1992, the Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW (RTA), the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) and the Australian Consumers? Association (ACA) combined their resources to design and implement a Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP). The purpose of this program was to provide consumers with valuable information, and to pressure manufacturers to deliver child restraint systems (CRS) that performed well beyond the requirements of the Australian Standard.
Since its inception, the CREP has included an assessment of both the dynamic performance of child restraints and the ease of use of these restraints. The latter is important as incorrect use of a child restraint degrades the level of protection provided in a crash. In some cases, incorrect use can lead to injury where injury would otherwise have been avoided . Ease of use assessments attempt to measure the inherent propensity for incorrect use.
The original ease of installation and use trials were modelled on a draft ISO CRS fitting trial standard that required recruitment of child and adult subjects. This method proved to be a relatively expensive and time consuming exercise. Following publication of the results from the first CREP series, the protocols were simplified and combined with the NRMA?s vehicle compatibility trial. This combination was then used for CREP Stages 2 (1996) and 3 (1999-2000).
More recently, the Insurance Corporation British Columbia, the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) and the Consumer Union, developed more advanced ease-of-use assessment models for CRS assessment. This development led to a review of the CREP assessment procedures in 2005. The outcome of this review was more comprehensive ease-of-use assessment protocols and hitherto unused scoring protocols to be used in the revised assessment protocols . This newly revised protocol forms the basis of assessment for the current CREP 4 series and has been presented elsewhere .
This paper provides exemplar results obtained from the significantly expanded ease of use component of CREP. In addition to demonstrating the benefits of the revised protocol, the highest priority areas for making significant gains in reducing the propensity for misuse among current Australian child restraints are presented. The role this form of assessment and programs, such as CREP, can have as an effective countermeasure to child restraint misuse are also discussed.