Full width frontal impact R137 enters into force

17 June 2016

The harmonized type-approval regulation on full width rigid barrier (FWRB) vehicle crash testing entered into force on June 9.

The new UN Regulation No. 137 establishes a 50 km/h impact test using a 50th male HIII driver and 5th female HIII front passenger, with notable attention to chest injury prevention. The initial version uses a thorax compression criterion (ThCC) of 42 mm for both dummies; however, the 01 series of amendments would lower the threshold to 34 mm for the 5th female from September 2020. These thresholds were based upon injury-risk curves for 65+ year-olds. A main goal of the new regulation is to ensure satisfactory restraint protection for more vulnerable vehicle occupants.

Shortly before this deadline, Australia notified the UN Secretariat that it would not apply UN R137. Last December, Australia requested clarifications with regard to the use of airbag deactivation systems (such as to turn the airbag off when using a rear-facing child restraint system in the front passenger seat). Australia’s current FWRB standard ADR 69/00 requires each vehicle design to meet the required crash performance regardless of the setting of any deactivation device and Australian law prohibits CRS in front seats. However, some countries allow for the use of CRS in front seats provided the airbags are switched off and type approvals are being issued based upon testing only with the airbags activated.

Before accepting UN R137 approvals, Australia wants to see UN R16 (on occupant restraint systems) amended to ensure that motorists will fully understand the purpose and correct use of airbag deactivation devices. Euro NCAP protocols and the US FMVSS 208 contain detailed requirements in this respect. Australia would like similar language in UN R16 in order to prevent misuse that could lead to death or injury among both child and adult occupants. Australia has presented a proposal for the 07 series of amendments to UN R16 (document GRSP/2016/13) due to be discussed at the December session of the WP.29 Working Party on Passive Safety (GRSP).

The European Commission is expected to include UN R137 in its proposal to update the EU General Safety Regulation, anticipated for July. The Commission has suggested a phase-in for new type approvals from September 2020 with compliance required for all new vehicles from September 2022.

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