Busa v Ford

On April 4, 2003, at around 6:30 PM,  John Busa was driving his 1995 Ford Taurus from work to his gym to work out, when tragedy befell him.  While John was stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of South State Road and West Sproul Road, a car driven by Chris Melazzo failed to negotiate his path of travel

 

Subject Vehicle - Ford Taurus 

 Nissan Maxima
 Striking Vehicle - Nissan Maxima
 

 Occupant kinematics in Ford Taurus

 

 
 
 
and caused a frontal collision.  After impacting the front of the Taurus, the Melazzo Nissan glanced off the Taurus and struck another vehicle before coming to a stop. 

While the Nissan was traveling at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit, the parties' experts agree that the impact caused the Taurus to accelerate from zero to about 25 mph.  In other words, the crash to the Taurus was the same as if the Taurus were traveling at 25 mph and hit a brick wall.  In engineering parlance this is known as the Delta V of the Taurus.  This collision, pushing the Taurus rearward and somewhat to the left of its stationary position, resulted in causing John's body to move forward on his seat and into head contact with hard parts of the interior of the Taurus. Because John was a relatively tall guy (6'2"), and the Taurus interior design was not well conceived from large adults, John's knees impacted the lower instrument panel and his head violently impacted the interior of the roof at the sun visor and the area close to the pillar supporting the windshield (known as the A pillar). These rigid parts of the car abruptly stopped his head while his torso continued moving. This movement then caused traumatic fracture to his cervical spine.  He was instantly rendered a quadriplegic.  All of these things happened despite the fact that this car was equipped with an airbag that deployed-late in the crash event.

The design contour of the forward part of the roof was not safely configured because tall occupants are at clear risk of violently impacting their head in frontal collisions and the air bag system used a crash sensor configuration that caused the driver's bag to inflate late in the crash and after Mr. Busa suffered his head and neck injuries (see testing videos to view the occupants kinematics when a timely deployed airbag is triggered and also the kinematics of an occupant when no airbag is deployed).    

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