Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 2, 2010
   Pages 143 — 150

Abstract — Wheelchair tiedown and occupant restraint loading associated with adult manual transit wheelchair in rear impact

Zdravko Salipur, MEng; Gina Bertocci, PhD, PE*

Injury Risk Assessment and Prevention (iRAP) Laboratory, Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Abstract — Proper securement of wheelchairs in motor vehicles is vital to providing wheelchair users an adequate level of safety in a crash. Thus far, wheelchair tiedown and occupant restraint systems (WTORS) loading has mostly been examined under frontal impact conditions. Because of the inherent crash dynamic differences, rear-impact loading of WTORS is expected to differ greatly. In this study, three identical, reinforced, manual, folding, X-braced ANSI/RESNA WC19 wheelchairs were subjected to an International Organization for Standardization-proposed rear-impact crash pulse. WTORS loads (front tiedowns, rear tiedowns, lap belt, and shoulder belt) were measured and compared with frontal impact WTORS loading. Rear impact produced substantially higher loads (up to 7,851 N) in the front tiedowns than frontal impact. The rear tiedowns experienced relatively negligible loading (up to 257 N) in rear impact, while rear-impact dynamics caused the lap belt (maximum load of 1,865 N) to be loaded substantially more than the shoulder belt (maximum load of 68 N). Considering differences in frontal and rear impact WTORS loading is important to proper WTORS design and, thus, protection of wheelchair-seated occupants subjected to rear-impact events.

Key words: ANSI/RESNA WC19, crash dynamics, loading, occupant restraints, rear impact, tiedowns, wheelchair safety, wheelchair securement, wheelchair transportation, WTORS.


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