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In the evolution of road safety, crash testing has played a critical role, transforming the way we design and manufacture vehicles to protect occupants in the event of a collision. This process has been the result of a combination of pioneering research and technological advances over time.

When looking at the history of impact testing, it is essential to go back to the early experiments that laid the foundation for the field. One of the pioneers was Hugh De Haven, a biomedical engineer who, in the 1930s, conducted studies on the effects of deceleration on the human body during automobile accidents. His research laid the foundation for understanding the relationship between impact speed and injuries suffered by vehicle occupants.

In the 1950s, American researchers John Paul Stapp and Lawrence Patrick conducted a series of experiments on human volunteers at Edwards Air Force Base. These experiments provided crucial information about human tolerance for acceleration and deceleration, which contributed significantly to the design of safety systems.

However, the real push toward modern crash testing came in the 1960s, with the creation of vehicle safety evaluation programs. One of the first and most influential was the United States’ New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), established in 1979. Authors such as Adrian Lund and David Zuby have contributed significantly to the field, leading research and evaluations. vehicle safety standards that have influenced safety standards around the world.

Over the past 30 years, crash testing in the road safety industry has seen significant advances, driven by a combination of scientific research, technological advances and stricter regulatory demands.

Additionally, advances in materials engineering and structural design have enabled the manufacture of safer, lighter vehicles, as well as stronger barriers, which can absorb and distribute impact energy more effectively. This has resulted in reducing serious injuries and improving occupant survival in crashes.

The international regulation EN1317 establishes the conditions for full-scale crash tests that must be carried out in accredited laboratories on vehicle restraint systems to evaluate their performance. This regulation has played a fundamental role in improving road safety, ensuring that restraint devices comply with rigorous standards, which helps reduce the severity of accidents and protect road users.

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