Since Sunday, a story made the news in Germany that a Ford Fiesta and a Peugeot 308 had been crashed by Germany’s auto club ADAC, with horrific results. Both cars come with a five star Euro NCAP rating. Hence, everybody wanted to know which of the cars failed badly. Now the auto club says: It’s not the cars that are bad. It’s the crash standards.
All crash tests pretty much simulate a collision with a stationary object. That’s just not realistic, says the club, and they have a point. Usually, a car collides with a movable object, such as another car. That’s what the ADAC test attempted to simulate. Two very safe cars crash into each other, at a speed of 56 km/h (35 mph) each. That’s the speed used for EU whole car certification. However, total speed of both cars is now 70 mph. Nothing is ever tested at that speed. The much stricter (and not mandatory) Euro NCAP tests at 64 km/h, (40mph). Both cars are optimized for current crash standards. But when they hit each other, they hit spots that are not in the standard. Crumple zones don’t crumple. The passenger cell loses its protective properties.
According to Germany’s Rheinische Post, the ADAC demands that “crash compatibility” should receive more attention. Not just when a heavy car hits a light car (light loses). Also when similar cars hit each other. If that would be taken into consideration, the ADAC projects that driving gets 7 percent less dangerous, which would translate into 150 people staying alive in Germany each year.