Police Vehicles: Rollover stability analysis (Phase 1 project)

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #184 - 2002

Full report in .pdf format [344KB]

Authors: G. Rechnitzer, E. Hoareau, N. Deveson & S. Richardson


Recent concerns regarding the handling performance of police vehicles (particularly the Holden Commodore divisional van) led to the police requesting Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) to, firstly, conduct an analysis of vehicle handling and stability for different vehicle types in their fleet, and secondly, to assist in defining selection and performance criteria for police vehicles. The first phase of this work has been carried out and is the subject of this report.

The work comprised two main tasks: (i) analysis of the police vehicle accident database, and the vehicle database, with regard to determining the incidence and rate of rollover involved crashes for each vehicle type; and (ii) determine stability and dynamic handling characteristics of a range of police vehicles using Tilt Table test, and Steady State Turning and a Double Lane Change Manoeuvre. Thirteen vehicles were tested for centre of gravity height (Tilt Table) and a further 6 for handling evaluation. The tests were carried out by the Army Engineering Agency (AEA) Mechanical Laboratories, at the Army's Monegeetta Proving Grounds.

The analysis of the available crash data identified that the Holden Commodore divisional van had a rollover rate significantly higher than that identified for Commodore and Falcon Sedans and the earlier Falcon divisional vans. The Toyota Landcruiser models had a calculated rollover rate higher than the Commodore divisional van, with the Rodeo 4x2 divisional van being higher still. For the Commodore divisional van, using this data, together with the results from the Tilt Table stability tests, Steady State Turning Test and the Double Lane Change manoeuvre, indicates that the rollover issue is predominantly related to the height of the vehicle's centre of gravity. The additional mass arising from the addition of prisoner pods to the base vehicles (Rodeo and Commodore) has resulted in reduced rollover stability characteristics for these vehicles.

Sponsor: Victoria Police