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    Recent studies have suggested that a relationship exists between crash injury risk and occupant posture, particularly in postures different from those used with anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) in crash testing. The objective of this study was to increase scientific understanding of typical front-seat passenger postures through a naturalistic study. Video cameras were installed in the passenger cabins of the vehicles of 75 drivers. Reflective targets were attached to the seats and the seat position and seat back angle was moved through their available ranges during instrumentation. The video data, along with vehicle acceleration and location data, were downloaded after the vehicles were operated as usual by their owners for two weeks. Video frames were manually coded to identify characteristics of front-seat passenger posture and position. Seat position and seat back angle were estimated using the calibration data obtained during vehicle instrumentation. Video frames from a total of 2733 trips were coded for 306 unique front-seat passengers. For these trips, a total of 13638 frames were coded; each frame represents about four minutes of travel time. The head was rotated left or right in 33% of frames, and the torso was rotated left or right about 10% of the time and pitched forward in almost 10% of frames. No seat position or seat back angle change was noted in 40 (53%) of vehicles and the distributions of seat position and seat back angle on arrival were essentially unchanged during travel. The seat was positioned full-rear on the seat track about 23% of the time and rearward of the mid-track position in 92% of frames. The mean seat back angle was 25.4 degrees (standard deviation 6.4 degrees); seat back angle was greater than 30 degrees in 15% of frames and greater than 35 degrees in less than 1% of frames. This study is the first to report distributions of postures, seat positions, and seat back angles for front-seat passengers. Seat positions rearward of the middle of the seat adjustment range are common, but highly reclined postures are infrequent. Non-nominal torso and head postures also are nontrivial.


    Matthew P Reed, Sheila M Ebert, Monica L H Jones, Jason J Hallman. Prevalence of non-nominal seat positions and postures among front-seat passengers. Traffic injury prevention. 2020 Jul 21:1-6

    PMID: 32692249

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