Since the onset of automotive safety awareness over 60 years ago the only rollover protection solution to be widely acknowledged and used in the E & P Industry has been the traditional internal roll cage. These traditional roll cages have become out-of-date and in recent testing are shown to be ineffective at the A-Pillar and windshield header.
An all-encompassing study of rollover accidents has shown that this old technology is not the best way to mitigate injury. Understanding "Real World" rollover crashes and how injuries occur is instrumental in pinpointing the key areas of the vehicle’s roof structure that require improvement. Our study included over 500 "Real World" rollover crash investigations and over 300 rollover crash tests performed with innovative dynamic testing using the Jordan Rollover System (JRS).
Over the past decade automobile manufacturers have improved roof strength and added computer controlled driver assistance measures to avoid crashes. Still, the need exists for a majority of the common SUV’s, Ute’s, Vans, and buses to use an aftermarket solution. This study illuminates the deficiencies in internal and other ROPS enabling HSE Managers to make more informed decisions when choosing a system. The goal of ROPS today should be to protect occupants without interfering with OEM safety systems.
Our investigation shows that rollovers producing serious to fatal injuries are characterized by a vehicle crash that includes rolling with forward pitch. In this circumstance, injury occurs when; vehicles roof strength is low, the geometry of the vehicle is poor including a large major radius, the structure of the roof is open section and/or the windshield header is weak. These crash characteristics show the importance of reinforcement at the A-Pillar and forward roof header. Traditional roll cages do not protect this area of the vehicle as shown in the new testing included in this paper.
The E & P Industry is spending millions of dollars annually on occupant protection systems that are not offering the best protection for their workforce. New technologies in current vehicles and research advances in the design and approach to protection systems can reduce overall costs without sacrificing protection.