Side Impact: Deep Intrusion into “Survival Space”
Many vehicles have minimal subframes that are too far inboard, a lack of structural cross-members, and structural gaps that allow excessive intrusion into the occupants’ “survival space.” Safer designs embody strong perimeter frames and roll-cage concepts. Also, side torso and side-curtain airbags can offer significant protection.
This is a BMW that skidded sideways on an icy road, and the right-hand side impacted into a roadside pole, causing deep intrtusion into the "survival space." Though the driver was seatbelted and the far-side occupant, he suffered severe head trauma that was fatal. Byron Bloch testified as an auto safety expert in the New Jersey trial, and showed the jury the needless structural "gap" in the mid-body region. The jury verdict was for the plaintiff.
The 1974 Dodge police car from the landmark "crashworthiness" case of Dawson vs. Chrysler is shown in the two photos below. Note the structural gap between the front and rear subframe members, a weak zone that allowed the utility pole to penetrate deeply into where police officer Dawson was seated, causing spinal injutries that rendered him a quadriplegic.
Many contemporary cars have a similar defective design... with a structural gap in the mid-body region... that allows deep pentration by an impacting vehicle, a tree, or a pole. Byron Bloch testified as an auto safety expert in the Dawson trial in Camden, New Jersey, and showed cut-away portions of vehicles as he educated the jury about the defective design of the Dodge Police Car and safer alternative designs that would have prevented the severity of injury.