Safety Risks of Occupant Compartment Damage During Crashes

During American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) crash tests, devices sometimes fail due to seemingly insignificant damage to the vehicle, as MASH does not allow for any part of the device to enter into the vehicle compartment. If there is any intrusion, the device fails that test. Some deformation of the vehicle occupant compartment is allowed, but varies by area of the vehicle. Although engineering judgment and experience indicate that minor deformation/penetration does not pose a safety risk to occupants, but MASH is very black and white in this area. As with many AASHTO publications, early editions often contain guidance based on expert consensus rather than research, and as time goes on the committees request research to address these areas. Without solid information on the risk posed to vehicle occupants from some minor types of crash test damage, the thresholds in the documents need to err on the side of caution (e.g., “no penetration into the occupant compartment”). This project seeks to make MASH testing thresholds more realistic, which can lead to increased development and use of MASH devices.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $750000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 22-59

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Start Date: 20221101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01863193
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 22-59
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 1 2022 6:34AM