Two new tests by VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) have investigated traffic safety for police in their cars. The hypothesis that the personal equipment or the uniform might affect the function of the seat belt in a collision was put to test. The study points out that an alternative, professional use of vehicles ought to be more generally considered in relation to the crash safety aspects.
VTI was contacted by the National Police Board of Sweden in the course of an internal investigation of a traffic accident in which a policewoman was killed. Even though there was nothing about this accident which specifically indicated that the equipment which the police carry on their uniform directly caused the tragic outcome of the accident, it gave the impetus for an investigation whether any of the many items of equipment carried on the uniform entails a risk, and whether appropriate measures might also be identified to change or reduce the risks. It was therefore decided to study the working environment of the police in police cars, by performing two collision tests.
In two crash tests, the hypothesis that the personal equipment which the police carry on their uniform might affect the function of the seat belt in a collision was put to the test. To sum up, it can be said that nothing was found to indicate that the flak jacket has a significant negative effect on the function of the belt. It was further found that the items of equipment carried on the equipment belt around the waist do not themselves entail any significant increase in risk, even though it cannot obviously be excluded that even small but sharp objects can cause local but severe injuries in accidents. More generally, it is found that, in a purely physical sense, the size of the uniform belt displaces the lap portion of the seat belt from its correct position around the hips of the wearer, which gives rise to an evident risk of submarining. At present, a normal belt tensioner is not able to recover all the slack which the equipment induces.
Mikael Höglund | alfa
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