U.Va. Engineering UnBound

UNBOUND Spring 2012

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Rollover crashes don't happen very often, but when they do they've proven to be one of the most dangerous car accidents. Roughly 3 percent of all crashes in the U.S. involve a rollover, but they account for 35 percent of domestic traffic fatalities. T laboratory in the world, the center specializes in impact biomechanics for injury prevention. Started by the NHTSA back in 1989, the center now operates out of a 30,000-square-foot facility located in the University of Virginia's North Fork Research Park. The center is recognized as one of the world's leading research groups in the field, using state-of-the-art equipment to analyze the intricacies of how the human body responds to injury. The centerpiece is the first university-based full-scale latest compiled traffic safety statistics, 32,885 people died as a result of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2010, while more than 2 million were injured. The good news is that the number of people being killed in car crashes is actually dropping—to lower than it's ever been since the NHTSA started keeping track in 1975. Part of the fortunate reduction and continually growing safety awareness can certainly be attributed to the Engineering School's Center for Applied Biomechanics. It's where crash survival becomes a science. As the largest university-based injury biomechanics raffic fatality stats are startling enough to make you click your seat belt without hesitation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's rollover sled system—capable of rolling a sport-utility vehicle at 400-degrees per second and dropping it onto a moving roadbed. Crash tests are captured on film at more than 1,000 frames per second, while a person's motion during impact is tracked with submillimeter resolution. "We study how the body behaves under impact circumstances," says center director Jeff Crandall, who's also a professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering and emergency medicine. "When research we've done gets implemented and injury countermeasures continue to increase, the number of lives being saved adds up as time grows. We see where these changes make a real difference." With a 30-person research staff, as well as the assistance of 20 graduate students, the center does a wide range of injury-prevention research for first responders, EMS, police, and military personnel. Groundbreaking studies have involved out-of-position air bag injuries, as well as a collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that became the foundational study behind the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that children stay rear-facing in car seats beyond age 1. The center has also become one of the leading academic rare, severe injuries on a frequent basis in a controlled fashion," Crandall adds. "This ultimately helps with diagnosis and repair." institutions on pedestrian safety. There are 1.2 million global traffic fatalities every year and more than 700,000 of them are pedestrians. There is also multi-disciplinary collaboration with the School of Medicine. "We're giving doctors the opportunities to see very U.Va. ENGINEERING 31

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