The primary purpose of the Center for Injury Research JRS tests is to compare the dynamic roof crush performance of ten vehicles with the performance of the same vehicles under NHTSA’s static roof crush tests. Unlike the passenger cars that CfIR tested, the Honda Ridgeline has side-curtain air bags that are designed to deploy in a rollover. NHTSA did not deploy air bags in its static roof crush tests, and CfIR did not deploy them in the JRS tests of the Ridgeline. Even if the side-curtain air bags had been deployed in the JRS test, they would not have affected the catastrophic roof intrusion into the occupant compartment, and the restrained dummy still would have indicated severe injury from the roof intrusion.
In rollovers, the side-curtain air bags are primarily designed to control ejection and perform well only in combination with a strong roof that resists serious intrusion in a rollover. For a number of years, the experts involved in these rollover tests, as well as other experts in the field, have provided extensive technical information to vehicle manufacturers about the importance of research and design choices concerning the control of roof crush in rollover occupant protection. NHTSA needs to upgrade its testing protocols and do a better job of dealing with safety issues.
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