CfIR assisted NHTSA in Defect Investigations

Crashworthiness / Defect Investigations

CfIR assisted NHTSA with the 2010 Recall of Selected Toyota Vehicles

"NHTSA Lauches Probe into Timeliness of Three Recalls," USDOT, February 16, 2010.

"Toyota Provides Response to Chairman Towns' Inquiry," Oversight Committee Hearings, February 12, 2010.

"Before Your Toyota Is Fixed, Should You Drive It?," AOL Autos - An Interview with Don Friedman for CfIR, February 11, 2010.

"Toyota Recalls May Not Solve Problem, Experts Say," CNN US, February 10, 2010.

"This Car Runs on Code," Discovery News February 5, 2010.

"Toyota: Owners can still drive, but watch for warning signs,," USA Today - Comment by CfIR, January 27, 2010.

CfIR has Identified Airbag System Defects Resulting in Recalls in 2014

"NHTSA Looks Into Another Airbag Problem with GM Chevy Impalas"  By Eric T. Chaffin, September 4, 2014. Don Friedman submits results to NHTSA regarding 2008 Chevrolet Impala crash that occurred in April 2011 in Texas. (To View Full Article)

"Chevy Impala has Airbag Software Flaw, Safety Advocate Claims in U.S. Petition"  By Auto News, April 7, 2014. Don Friedman petitioned NHTSA to open a probe into whether GM’s electronic algorithms can inhibit airbag deployment, and whether faulty data can be produced if passengers are bumped out of their seats. (To View Full Article)

"NHTSA Asked to Investigate More GM Air-Bag Failures" By Jeff Green and Jeff Plungis, April 7, 2014. Don Friedman petitioned the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a defect investigation into 2003-2010 model-year Impalas. (To View Full Article)

CfIR Identified Electronic Vehicle Control Defects Resulting in Recalls in 2013

Any crash is related to a combination of roadway factors, vehicle defects, and/or driver errors. The ever-increasing electronic control of vehicles has its benefits and limitations. Modern vehicle drive-by-wire (DBW) systems can have lifesaving outcomes because they can identify and take action (e.g., deploy airbag) based on potentially-dangerous roadway factors and vehicle and/or driver errors. Most of the time, the DBW systems save lives. However, some DBW commands can be fatal (e.g., misinterpreted data causing a crash or preventing airbag deployment causing injury). Since about 1990, all motor vehicles are equipped with Collision Data Recorders (CDR). These devices initially provided impact and status data, as well as deployment commands for occupant protection systems. More recently, vehicles are equipped with drive-by-wire systems with electronically-aided driver controls derived from more than 40 control modules interconnected by communication networks. A vast amount of additional data is collected and stored by these control modules. Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) identify, describe and store events, faults, limitations exceeded and corrective actions made by each control module. The functioning of a control module, access, and storage location codes are defined in its Product Definition Description (PDD) manual.

Electronic Crash, Defect and Causation Analyses, ESV, Seoul, S. Korea, May 27-30, 2013: Several case studies are presented to demonstrate the effects of control module algorithms, events, faults and actions. A complete case study identified a defect and proved that defect was the proximate cause of the injury and death. Surprisingly, these modules can seize control of a DBW vehicle and actually cause loss of control, resulting in a crash and injury ranging in severity from minor-to-fatal.


Electronic Crash and Injury Causation Analyses, AAFS, Seattle, Washington, February 17-22, 2014: CfIR presented a system analysis that utilizes the stored vehicle control module data, in conjunction with physical evidence and CDR download to enable the forensic engineer to quantitatively apportion causation and provide proof of roadway factors, vehicle defect, and/or driver error.


Potential Effects of Automatic (Emergency) Braking on Accident Fatalities and Serious Injuries, ESV, Detroit, Michigan, June 5-8, 2017: Automatic Emergency Braking will become a standard feature in LTVs beginning in 2023 due to a voluntary agreement between vehicle manufacturers, NHTSA, and IIHS. The agreed performance criteria will result in a system that reduces the incidence of low-speed crashes and will likely have little effect on severe injuries and fatalities. Opportunities for fatality reduction associated with AEB are significant and are based on implementation approaches. Potential fatality reductions resulting from AEB activation thresholds in various crash modes and closing speed ranges were considered. The effects of alternative performance requirements on potential fatality reductions were then examined.


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