A driver's risk of head injury is greatest in a small truck or van, according to the findings of new crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Compact cars showed the least risk of head injury, according to the agency's final test results for the year, released Wednesday.
The agency crashed 37 models into a barrier at 35 m.p.h., using instrumented dummies strapped in with seat belts to measure the impact of the collision on each vehicle's occupants. The impact is equivalent to a head-on collision between two identical cars, each traveling at 35 m.p.h., or between a parked car and one moving at 70 m.p.h.
Results of tests on 17 of the models showed the driver would likely suffer a severe or fatal head injury.
The likelihood of head injury was reported by NHTSA as an index called the head-injury criterion. Generally, a head-injury criterion of 1,000 or more indicates a greater likelihood of severe injury or death, the agency said.