Auto Mechanic Safety: How Crash Testing Helps Reduce Risk for Drivers
May 24, 2016
It all happens in about 300 milliseconds—airbags deploy to offer some cushiony protection for car occupants, seatbelts snap tight, and reinforced collision points of the car brace for impact. Car crashes happen every day, but even though there are many more cars on the road, fatalities and personal injuries from car accidents have been steadily declining in Canada since 1995. This is due to the innovative and rigorous testing that is done at testing facilities.
As a future auto mechanic, refinishing prep, or auto body technician, you will likely have to repair cars that have been in accidents at some point during your future career.
Here is some information about how crash testing helps reduce risks for drivers.
A Brief History of Car Safety for Auto Technician Training Students
Ever since Henry Ford first launched the Model T, automotive safety has become increasingly prioritized amongst car manufacturers. The Model T was designed to be produced inexpensively and quickly, not necessarily to be safe for the driver. But with limited road safety regulations and the Model T being able to reach top speeds of over 70 km/h, incidents of car crashes began to become more frequent and cars began to be designed for safety. In 1930 Ford introduced shatter-proof glass for their windshields and finally, in 1934 General Motors conducted the first automotive crash test. Currently, the most common type of collision is a front-end collision that affects the bumper. If you’re interested in becoming an auto mechanic you will soon find this out first hand once you begin repairing damaged cars!
How Crash Tests Work: A Brief Guide for Students in Mechanic Programs
As you start your mechanic program you may learn that cars are subjected to a ton of crash tests before they reach the road. Both the Canadian and the U.S. governments have similar standards that pose minimum levels of safety required for all cars on the road. Car manufacturers conduct their own crash tests during the design stage, both prior to production and after production begins. Cars are subjected to head restraint assessments, roof strength tests, side impact tests and small-overlap front crash tests. Both the test dummies inside the car and the car itself are fitted with electronic sensors that measure impact and are assessed post-crash for damage. Once the results of these tests are compiled they are published for consumers to review prior to deciding which vehicle they would like to purchase.
Auto Mechanics Know Crash Test Dummies Are Heroes
Since their implementation into automotive safety testing in the 1950s, crash test dummies and the information that is produced by them have saved an enormous amount of lives. In 1971, a test dummy named Hybrid I was created by General Motors and was modeled after the average U.S. male’s height, weight, and proportions. Current dummies measure acceleration using an ‘accelerometer,’ the amount of force hitting the dummy using load sensors, and the amount of ‘deflection’ (the amount that the crash test dummies’ chest caves under impact) using motion sensors. One of the Hybrid I’s successors, the Hybrid III, is more advanced and now even has a family. Testing how cars full of women, men, and children react to testing has helped improve car safety immensely. How much does this safety cost? A fully functional crash test dummy costs over $200,000 CAD, but the safety it provides for drivers in the long run is priceless.
Want to help keep cars safe after auto technician training?
Contact an advisor for more information today.
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