According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS, 1995-2004), over 20 percent of fatal frontal crashes are into fixed narrow objects such as trees and utility poles in real world crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has studied the frontal pole impact test since 2005, conducting a series of tests using passenger cars that are rated “Good” from the IIHS frontal offset test. Passenger cars were impacted into a 10-inch-diameter rigid pole at 64-kph. The alignment of the pole along the centerline of the vehicles in frontal impact was varied to study the influence on dummy injury metrics.
This paper evaluates the frontal center pole test conducted by the IIHS. The IIHS tests 21 crashes impacted by the rigid pole using 5 vehicle models with two dummies in the front seat. Intrusions and dummy readings were reviewed according to the frontal offset rating criteria of the IIHS for structural performance and injury measurement. Post-crash investigations were conducted to examine the fracture or the deformation of the major front-end components.
Finite element analysis was performed to characterize the frontal pole impact compared to the full frontal rigid barrier test and the IIHS 40% offset frontal impact test. The analysis investigated the distribution of the crash energy absorption by the front-end structure. Two vehicles that have different cross-section of the rails were simulated to compare the efficiency of crash energy absorption by different types of rails.