Conference Paper

The danger of loose objects in the car: Challenges and opportunities for ubiquitous computing

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Every year, loose objects inside cars during crashes cause hundreds of serious injuries and even deaths. In this paper, we describe findings from a study of 25 cars and drivers, examining the objects present in the car cabin, the reasons for them being there, and driver awareness of the potential dangers of these objects. With an average of 4.3 potentially dangerous loose objects in a car's cabin, our findings suggest that despite being generally aware of potential risks, considerations of convenience, easy access, and lack of in-the-moment awareness lead people to continue to place objects in dangerous locations in cars. Our study highlights opportunities for addressing this problem by tracking and reminding people about loose objects in cars.

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Currently, there is little in the literature regarding the ability of rear seatbacks to act as a protective barrier from cargo in frontal crashes. However, it has been shown that unrestrained rear passengers pose a danger to front seat occupants. The association of rear seatback failures and intrusions with mortality and serious injury were examined. The Seattle CIREN database for restrained, rear-seat passengers in front-end crashes with seatback failure or intrusion was searched. Injury patterns and crash characteristics, including the role of unrestrained cargo were examined. Next, the National Automotive Sampling System-Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS) database was queried for restrained rear-seat passengers in front-end crashes with recorded seat failure or intrusion. Mortality, maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score and mean Injury Severity Scale (ISS) scores were compared with passengers who had no failure or intrusion. Linear regression was used to identify the differences between the groups. Logistic regression was used to estimate the mortality risk associated with seat failure. There were four CIREN cases that met the criteria. In each case, the occupant suffered significant injury or death. All four of the seat failures were the result of unrestrained cargo striking the seatback. The CDS data revealed a statistically significantly increased mortality (OR = 18.9, 95% CI = 14.0-25.7) associated with seat failure. Both the maximum AIS and mean of the ISS scores were higher in the failure/intrusion group (p <0.0001). Rear seatback failure/intrusion is associated with increased mortality and injury. Case reports suggest unrestrained cargo plays a significant role in these injuries.
Conference Paper
This scientific poster presents an approach identifying possible passenger and cargo load configurations, as well as accurately calculating and displaying their effect on a motor vehicle's mass properties. The approach has three separate and distinct operations. First, the approach requires consideration of passenger and load configurations that are possible for the vehicle of interest. Second, data acquisition and calculations are utilized. The calculation accounts for changes in vehicle mass properties due to suspension deflection. Last, the mass properties that are calculated must be displayed so they can be used effectively to benefit a vehicle's safety. For the covering abstract of the conference see IRRD 880023.
Cargo-related injuries for passenger-car occupants are one of the major contributors to total harm in traffic accidents. This paper describes efforts to better understand the dynamics of cargo during frontal impacts and also discusses test criteria and test procedures to evaluate the load-retention performance of partitions between passenger and load compartment.
In road safety, a common perception exists that technology and/or regulation can solve problems, and does so in a sequential and progressive manner. This is not always the case. Technology is no panacea and government interventions can do as much harm as good. Using historical methodologies, this paper explores the multiple attempts and failures of manufacturers, governments, and other groups to solve the rather simple safety concept of crash harm reduction through properly restrained vehicle occupants. This historical-methodology approach is suggested as an effective evaluation tool to measure other road safety interventions.
Using a new experimental paradigm to evaluate physical activity in the natural environment, the authors made of 45,694 observations of persons using stairs or an adjacent escalator at a shopping mall, train station, and bus terminal. In study 1, stair use more than doubled for both obese and nonobese persons during two-week periods when a colorful sign encouraging use of the stairs was positioned at the stairs/escalator choice point. In study 2, stair use remained elevated for 15 consecutive days while the sign was present, decreased during a 1-month follow-up period, and returned to baseline by 3 months. These results not only demonstrate the usefulness of this paradigm, but also suggest the strength of simple, inexpensive public health interventions to increase physical activity.
The risk of death of unbelted rear-seat occupants is obviously increased in car crashes. However, there is little epidemiological evidence that unbelted rear-seat occupants will also increase the risk of death of front-seat passengers. We compared risk of death and severe injury of front-seat occupants in car crashes with belted or unbelted rear-seat passengers. The risk of death of belted front-seat occupants with unbelted rear-seat passengers was raised nearly five-fold. If rear seatbelts had been used, almost 80% of deaths of belted front-seat occupants could have been avoided. Rear seatbelt use should be encouraged for the safety of all car occupants.
Hidden Dangers in your Car: When everyday objects turn deadly
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