Center for Injury Research

CfIR engages in research projects to evaluate the forces and injury potential to occupants in automobile crashes through data analysis and vehicle testing.

New Article: Outdated Crash Test Dummies Blamed for Continued Auto Fatalities

New Paper: The Dynamic Rollover Protection (DROP) Research Program

Tribute to Mr. Donald Friedman
June 15, 1927 to June 16, 2015


Professionally, Don is respected internationally for his accomplishments. Don identified his life's most significant contributions to technology. He, as principal or with a team, designed, developed and produced: the periscope system for the Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine; a high-performance electric drive; the infrared seeker and guidance control for the Sidewinder missile, which was the first airplane-mounted missile able to track a target and shoot it down and instrumental weapontry in the Korean war; the 3 Lunar Rovers that landed on the moon, unfolded their wheels and traversed the lunar surface; the Minicars Transit and Car Rental System; experimental, research, large and electronic research safety vehicles; a dynamic dummy-occupied full-scale vehicle rollover crash test fixture (JRS) and quasistatic full-scale vehicle roof strength test fixture (M216); the HALOTM, rollover protective systems for light truck vehicles used in, for example, the mining industry; and proofs of electronic drive-by-wire system algorithm defects. Don was a pioneer of vehicle crashworthiness and occupant safety research and testing, saving thousands of lives. He authored more than 150 technical papers and 7 patents, and testified before Congress on numerous occasions. He is responsible in part for more strict government vehicle safety standards. In his last 30 years, Don testified in more than 1,000 personal injury and product liability cases; he helped win landmark cases against major vehicle manufacturers that forced recalls and safety improvements.

Through our studies and research projects we gain insight in to how occupants are injured in collisions and roll-over accidents. In addition, we regularly collaborate with Universities, Research Organizations and other advocates in similar or related fields to share information and disseminate its research.

CfIR would like to thank the Automotive Safety Research Institute, Center for Auto Safety, and the Santos Family Foundation for their contributions and support to our research. CfIR would also like to thank State Farm Insurance for their donations of testing vehicles for our recent study.

Improving Occupant Safety

The World Health Organization estimates that globally 1.3 million people die annually in vehicular crashes. The fatality rates per 100,000 population of Germany, USA, India, China and Russia are 6, 14, 15, 16, and 25, respectively. Apparently Germans or German cars or both perform at least twice as well as most of the rest of the world.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,481,925 Americans died in vehicular crashes from 1899 through 2009, which is 10 times the combined number of fatalities in all of our wars. In addition to the 30,000 annual occupant fatalities in the U.S., there are tens of thousands of serious-to-fatal injuries, all of which add up to the $350 billion social cost of vehicular accidents.

A shocking statistic: One third of all crash fatalities in the U.S. occur from rollover crashes! At present rollover fatalities occur at a rate six times those of frontal crashes and three times the rate of serious injuries in any other crash. In addition to those fatalities, there are three times as many catastrophic injuries in rollover crashes. Rollover casualties have increased steadily since the introduction of the SUV in 1989. Now with the greater use of SUV’s and light trucks as passenger vehicles the danger continues to grow.

Our goal is to give the public the resources they need to make informed decisions about potential vehicle purchases with an awareness of what’s important to know.

The non-profit Center for Injury Research has been directly supporting NHTSA’s efforts to reduce injuries and fatalities in rollovers since 2001 with extensive relevant data submissions of our own privately funded research.

This website includes most of the research we have performed and published, but we are working on new projects continuously, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, we are happy to try to help you. Just send us a note...