Rollover crashworthiness for passenger vehicles is currently evaluated by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 216 static roof strength compliance test. However, research clearly shows that the static test is inadequate in evaluating a vehicle’s injury potential performance in a real-world rollover event. Studies previously conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show a general relationship between a vehicle’s Strength-to-Weight-Ratio (SWR) and its real world injury potential. Although this general relationship is fairly accurate for most vehicles, there are many individual vehicle anomalies. The real world injury performance of the vehicles which make up these anomalies depends much less on the static roof strength (as measured in a FMVSS 216 test) and more on the dynamic performance of the roof and occupant protection systems during a real world rollover (as simulated on the Jordan Rollover System [JRS]). Repeatable dynamic crash tests are used by IIHS, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to evaluate the performance of a vehicle in every major crash mode except rollovers. Dynamic tests represent the real world effect of vehicle dynamics, orientation, geometry, roof strength, occupant position and kinematics, restraint and other safety system effectiveness while directly measuring comparative dummy injury criteria. Because National Accident Sampling System (NASS) investigations can only measure the cumulative effect of post crash roof crush, NHTSA has established an empirical relationship that a vehicle with post crash negative headroom (PCNH) is five times more likely to injure the occupant. However, data indicates that the anomalies in head, neck, and spinal cord injury are related to the momentum exchange of dynamic head impact speed and the duration of neck loading in each roll, not the cumulative amount of residual roof crush. This paper suggests a means of comparatively evaluating a vehicle’s dynamic rollover occupant injury potential performance.

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