Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vehicle Safety

This recent talk of seat belts in buses (I think Steinn mentioned it recently, but I won't dig up the link) reminds of a good article on vehicle safety in Physics Today which appears available to all.

In particular, the figure which shows acceleration with and without different types of seatbelt very informative. This is the kind of information that is very relevant to students and quite understandable even at the introductory level.

The figure really brings home the point that acceleration (ie decceleration) kills.


Uncle Al said...

A bus with a couple of hundred explosive airbags (front and side) is Uncle Al's idea of Official safety. Everybody will die of anoxia and air pressure-imploded chests. Let's run the New York City Transit authority,

(4524 buses)(200 airbags/bus)($1500/airbag) = $1.36 billion

If it saves even one life, on paper, isn't it worth mandating by law with a massive enforcement bureacracy and heinous fines for non-compliance? Not for the riders, silly goose, for the enforcers!

Sailor Moon said...

A few years back I saw a demonstration by the state police; it was a portable amusement park ride where a cart with a belted occupant slid down a ramp and hit a bumper at 8 miles an hour. The face of the victim got pretty screwed up at the moment of impact, so spectators would get the idea that even a low-speed crash with a belt is painful...

That said, the front-impact protection of modern cars is astounding. My mechanic crashed my Mazda last year at highway speeds. The airbags made a horrible mess of the car, but he walked away without serious injury.

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