Passenger vehicle rollover crashes involving a single vehicle occur infrequently; however, when they do the vehicle occupants in these crashes are more likely to sustain serious and fatal injuries compared to other crash modes. The thorax is frequently seriously injured in rollover crashes. Ongoing efforts in the USA and Australia have sought to understand the characteristics and aetiology of these injuries. Despite these efforts, the characteristics and aetiology of thoracic injuries in rollover crashes are still not well understood. Four studies were performed and documented in this thesis to address identified knowledge gaps. Firstly, Flail-space s lateral thoracic impact velocity was validated against existing lateral PMHS thoracic impact tests. The validated velocity was then considered as an additional lateral thoracic injury criterion for assessing lateral thoracic injuries resulting from rollover crashes. Secondly, thoracic injuries from real-world vehicle rollover crashes were examined based on occupant seated position and vehicle rollover direction. The results indicated that there is a difference in resultant thoracic injuries based on occupant seated position and rollover direction, which future studies need to consider. Thirdly, correlations between vehicle panel damage and serious thoracic injuries were investigated from real-world rollover crashes. The results indicated that there are associations between vehicle panel damage and serious thoracic injuries. Fourthly, a real-world rollover crash where the driver sustained serious thoracic injuries was analysed using computer simulations to study thoracic injury aetiology and its association with vehicle panel damage, as identified in the third study. Further, thoracic injuries were assessed against existing thoracic injury criteria and the lateral thoracic impact velocity criterion from the first study. The findings indicated a low likelihood of the occupant sustaining a thoracic injury. However, the results indicated instances in the rollover sequence that need to be studied in further detail, highlighted the sensitivity of thoracic injuries to initial occupant position and indicated the need for introducing thoracic oblique loading sensitivity in future ATD designs.
This thesis has provided a new lateral thoracic injury criterion; and identified vehicle, occupant and environment characteristics which need to be considered for future thoracic injury aetiology in rollover crashes studies.