Vehicle frontal protection systems for motor vehicles (referred to as bull-bars) are commonly fitted to four-wheel-drive vehicles (4WDs) or sport utility vehicles in Australia. They are purportedly fitted to reduce damage to the front of the vehicle in the event of an animal strike.
The focal question is, What injury risks are associated with a bull bar that complies with the Australian Standard compared to a non-complying bull-bar when fitted to 4WDs at standard and raised ride heights for the near side occupant of a struck vehicle in side impact crashes?
It is hypothesised that geometrically non-complying bull-bars fitted to 4WD vehicles increase the risk of injury to occupants of passenger vehicles side impacted by the said vehicle, particularly given the anecdotal finding that these bull-bars are often fitted to raised height 4WD vehicles. The objectives of this study were therefore to:
- compare the injury risk to the near-side occupant of a passenger vehicle side-impacted by a 4WD without a bull-bar fitted to the injury risk from the ANCAP mobile deformable barrier (trolley) test,
- compare the injury risk to the near-side occupant of a passenger vehicle side-impacted by standard height and raised height 4WD vehicles fitted with a geometrically complying bull-bar, and
- compare the injury risk to the near-side occupant of a passenger vehicle side-impacted by a 4WD vehicle fitted with geometrically complying and non-complying bull-bars at raised ride height.