Development of a Wheelchair Side Impact Test Procedure

Sponsor: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Dates: October 2021 to March 2023

Researchers: Kathleen D. Klinich, Jingwen Hu, Miriam Manary, Kyle Boyle, Nichole Orton

The goal of this project is to develop test procedures that will lead to improved safety in side impact crashes for people who travel while seated in their wheelchairs. Elements that are needed to achieve this are:

  • Wheelchairs that remains intact and keep the occupant positioned relative to the airbag
  • Tiedowns that secure wheelchairs under lateral loading
  • Occupant protection systems for nearside and farside impact

The test procedures, tools, and models developed in this project will need to address the different needs of wheelchairs manufacturers, WTORS manufacturers, and vehicle manufacturers, while also considering how to maximize both independence and safety of wheelchair users. The project will develop finite element (FE) models of tools, fixtures, and commercial products as part of the process to develop test procedures.