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Biomechanics & Trauma conducts cooperative and collaborative research with other organizations around the world to develop tools that help mitigate injury and death in motor vehicle crashes.  Crash test dummies are developed and tested, and NHTSA’s fleet of crash test dummies are maintained within this group.

Vulnerable Occupants
  Many motor vehicle occupants are at increased risk of injury due to physical differences that affect their interaction with the vehicle interior and restraints as well as their response and tolerance to crash loading. Older occupants may sustain more severe injuries due to weaker bones and calcified tissues. Occupant shape, which is associated with body mass index, can lead to suboptimal restraint fit. Vulnerable occupant research seek to identify the unique challenges of protecting all motor vehicle occupants.
Brain Injury Research
  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important public health problem in the United States. TBI is frequently referred to as a "silent epidemic" because the complications from TBI, such as changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions, may not be readily apparent.
  The Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) is a collaborative effort between NHTSA Human Injury Research, trauma physicians, and experts in the fields of impact biomechanics and mechanical engineering. This collaboration collects detailed data on crashes resulting in serious or disabling injury.
Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs)
  NHTSA's Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs), or crash test dummies are used to conduct research on issues relating to biomechanics, occupant protection, and crash dummy research, development, and evaluation.
  THOR 50th Male ATD
  THOR 5th Female ATD
  Advanced Automatic Collision Notification (AACN) is a system that provides immediate notification of a motor vehicle crash, along with an estimate of the likelihood of severe injury based on vehicular data (e.g. Delta-V). This system can improve the speed and accuracy of dispatch for motor vehicle crashes and also can help get the right patient to the right hospital by assisting EMS providers in determining which patients need the resources of a trauma center.
Human Modeling
  Computer modeling of human tissue began in the 1950s. However, the knowledge of material characteristics and tolerance of human tissue necessary to build and utilize high fidelity human models was lacking up until recently. Stable mathematical codes capable of simulating high energy impacts, such as those occurring in car crashes, also experienced major advances in recent years allowing for simulation of not only the complex kinematics of human body during the crash event, but also predict the onset and severity of potential injury.
Additional Information
  Lower Extremities

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)