The influence of car passengers’ sitting postures in intersection crashes
Journal article, 2021

Car passengers are frequently sitting in non-nominal postures and are able to perform a wide range of activities since they are not limited by tasks related to vehicle control, contrary to drivers. The anticipated introduction of Autonomous Driven vehicles could allow “drivers” to adopt similar postures and being involved in the same activities as passengers, allowing them a similar set of non-nominal postures. Therefore, the need to investigate the effects of non-nominal occupant sitting postures during relevant car crash events is becoming increasingly important. This study aims to investigate the effect of different postures of passengers in the front seat of a car on kinematic and kinetic responses during intersection crashes. A Human Body Model (HBM) was positioned in a numerical model of the front passenger seat of a midsize Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in a total of 35 postures, including variations to the lower and upper extremities, torso, and head postures. Three crash configurations, representative of predicted urban intersection crashes, were assessed in a simulation study; two side impacts, a near-side and a far-side, respectively, and a frontal impact. The occupant kinematics and internal loads were analyzed, and any deviation between the nominal and altered posture responses were quantified using cross-correlation of signals to highlight the most notable variations. Posture changes to the lower extremities had the largest overall influence on the lower extremities, pelvis, and whole-body responses for all crash configurations. In the frontal impact, crossing the legs allowed for the highest pelvis excursions and rotations, which affected the whole-body response the most. In the two side-impacts, leaning the torso in the coronal plane affected the torso and head kinematics by changing the interaction with the vehicle's interior. Additionally, in far-side impacts supporting the upper extremity on the center console resulted in increased torso excursions. Moreover, the response of the upper extremities was consistently sensitive to posture variations of all body regions.

Human body model

Side impact

Occupant sitting postures

Real-world safety

Occupant kinematics

Frontal impact

Finite element

Vehicle safety assessment


Alexandros Leledakis

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Volvo Cars

Jonas Östh

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Johan Davidsson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Lotta Jakobsson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Vehicle Safety

Volvo Cars

Accident Analysis and Prevention

0001-4575 (ISSN)

Vol. 157 106170

Subject Categories

Other Medical Engineering

Infrastructure Engineering

Vehicle Engineering





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