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Motorhome crash test in Sweden: Integrated motorhome collapses

Motorhome crash test in Sweden
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B As early as 1998, Sweden set itself the goal of “Vision Zero”: No more fatalities in road traffic. This should be achieved with appropriate measures in traffic planning, but also with vehicle safety. The statistics suggest that the measures are having an impact. Sweden is one of the countries in the world with the lowest percentage of people killed in road traffic.

This background explains why the Swedish authority 'Trafikverket' is comparable to the German Federal Ministry of Transport, which carried out the motorhome crash test. Two (used) mobile homes were tested in an offset crash. Trafikverket justifies the attempt by stating that new registrations of motorhomes in Sweden have increased by 50 percent since 2014 and that six people were killed in a motorhome in a traffic accident in these five years.

Two types of motorhomes in the crash test

During the experiment, the Swedish authorities used a partially integrated and an integrated motorhome, two of the four common body types. In the case of semi-integrated models, the vehicle manufacturer's cab is connected to a living space behind it. An integrated motorhome relies on a completely manufactured caravan including the driver's cab, which is mounted on the chassis of a manufacturer.

Trafikverket /Screenshot Youtube
During the crash test of the fully integrated motorhome, the body came off the frame

According to Trafikverket, the test corresponded to the requirements of the Euro NCAP test for cars: the two motorhomes were accelerated to 64 km /h against a staggered barrier. According to the technicians, this corresponds to a frontal collision with a carA speed of 90 km /h.

According to the 'Trafikverket', the result of the two crash tests shows that the occupants are at 'high risk' of dying in such an accident scenario. The reason for this is, among other things, the short crumple zone at the front, which is typical of a transporter, as well as the danger of detached components. Even the partially integrated mobile home was almost completely destroyed in the crash test. The fully integrated model collapsed completely, the body completely detached from the chassis.

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Requirement: Euro-NCAP also for mobile homes

Trafikverket wants to use the results of the crash tests to advertise that the Euro-NCAP crash test too is extended to mobile homes, these have so far not been tested according to this car crash test standard. Based on the results, the mobile home manufacturers should also be asked to improve the safety of the body. The central requirement here is better anchoring of furniture and fixtures, as well as easily removable tables - the dining table in the dinette posed a particularly high risk of injury for all occupants in both tests. Children usually sit here while driving.

In relation to Germany, the risk of serious or even fatal injuries in a traffic accident in a motorhome is relatively low. For example, a study conducted by insurers' accident research in 2014 showed that motorhomes are only half as likely to be involved in traffic accidents as cars and that the chance of not being injured in a traffic accident is five times as high as in a car This can be attributed to several factors: The more prudent driving style of the mobile home owners, the lower driving speed and the better overview compared to a car.

Statement of the CIVD

We asked the umbrella association for the crash test in Sweden the European recreational vehicle manufacturer and supplier, the Caravaning Industrie Verband eV (CIVD), for a statement. Jost Krüger, Head of the Technology and Environment Department at the CIVD, answered our questions.

What does the CIVD say about the Trafikverket test? About the driven speeds?

Krüger: The crash conditions of 64 km /h specified for cars by EuroNCAP with a laterally offset frontal impact on a deformable barrier (40 percent overlap) are forMotorhomes that are built on commercial vehicles are simply oversized and cannot be fulfilled. Euro NCAP defines voluntary standards for cars, minivans and small vans, not for the commercial vehicles used in motorhomes or even motorhomes themselves. In order to do justice to the technical characteristics of motorhomes and their driving behavior, e.g. the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) developed crash conditions designed for motorhomes.

How realistic is this test for the CIVD, which, according to Trafikverket, involves a frontal impact at 90 km /h on an average passenger car corresponds

Krüger: Trafikverket, as a member of EuroNCAP, is only familiar with the test conditions created by EuroNCAP for cars, minivans and vans and has therefore applied them. There should be general consensus that these test conditions for motorhomes are not realistic. After all, motorhomes are not as fast on the road as cars or vans and are less likely to be involved in frontal accidents. With around 55 percent of accidents involving mobile homes, the majority occur in urban areas at low speeds. Only about 16 percent pass on federal motorways. In addition, mobile homes rarely get into rush hour traffic and the traffic situation is much more relaxed for mobile home owners.

Are there crash test scenarios that would make sense from the CIVD's point of view?

Krüger: The EU type approval defines motorhomes as 'vehicles with a special purpose', since an essential purpose of the motorhome is 'living'. Therefore, like all other vehicles with a special purpose, motorhomes are exempt from requirements for car crash tests. Due to the lower speeds in comparison to cars, the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) has developed crash conditions specially designed for motorhomes. Motorhomes are driven against a rigid obstacle at a speed of 32 km /h with full overlap. According to the BASt, this configuration of accidents occurs relatively rarely in the event of an accident, but it places the highest demands on occupant protection systems and the strength of the equipment and its anchoring. In the meantime, these specifications have established themselves as the standard for further motorhome crash tests.

What can vehicle manufacturers do to further improve safety in motorhomes?

Krüger: The crash tests of motorhomes that have been carried out since the mid-1990s have constantly expanded our knowledge of the crash behavior of motorhomes and permanently improved the safety equipment. A large number of intelligent assistance and safety systems are installed in modern motorhomes these days, although the concepts of the motorhome manufacturers can vary.

Whatcan /should drivers and customers consider the issue of safety when purchasing?

Krüger: First of all, it should be noted that motorhomes are absolutely not a focus of accidents. Investigations by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) confirm that motor homes are less involved in accidents. Two studies come to similar, very positive results: Accidents involving motorhomes make up a small proportion of all accidents with personal injury at around 0.3 percent. In 2017 the proportion was only 0.2 percent. However, motorhomes are also classified as extremely safe with regard to the risk of accident related to mileage. 256 accidents with personal injury per billion vehicle kilometers in motorhomes are compared to 519 personal injuries per billion vehicle kilometers in passenger cars. Last but not least, the driving safety of motorhomes is also heavily influenced by the motorhome owners themselves. Motorhome enthusiasts are daylight drivers, mostly on vacation and therefore on the move without time pressure.

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