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Head injury criterion

head injury criterion, head injury criterion scale
The Head Injury Criterion HIC is a measure of the likelihood of head injury arising from an impact The HIC can be used to assess safety related to vehicles, personal protective gear, and sport equipment

Normally the variable is derived from the measurements of an accelerometer mounted at the centre of gravity of a crash test dummy’s head, when the dummy is exposed to crash forces

It is defined as: H I C = m a x =-t_\int _^atdt^\leftt_-t_\right_ 12

where t1 and t2 are the initial and final times in seconds of the interval during which HIC attains a maximum value, and acceleration a is measured in gs standard gravity acceleration The maximum time duration of HIC, t2 – t1, is limited to a specific value between 3 and 36 ms,1 usually 15 ms3

This means that the HIC includes the effects of head acceleration and the duration of the acceleration Large accelerations may be tolerated for very short times

At a HIC of 1000, there is an 18% probability of a severe head injury, a 55% probability of a serious injury and a 90% probability of a moderate head injury to the average adult4


  • 1 Automobile safety
  • 2 Athletics and recreation
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Automobile safetyedit

HIC is used to determine the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA star rating for automobile safety and to determine ratings given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety5

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, head injury risk is evaluated mainly on the basis of head injury criterion A value of 700 is the maximum allowed under the provisions of the US advanced airbag regulation NHTSA, 2000 and is the minimum score for an "acceptable" IIHS rating for a particular vehicle5

A HIC-15 meaning a measure of impact over 15 milliseconds of 700 is estimated to represent a 5 percent risk of a severe injury Mertz et al, 1997 A "severe" injury is one with a score of 4+ on the Abbreviated Injury Scale AIS Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, 19905

Data for specific vehicles can be found on various automotive review websites Some sample data is as follows, for comparative purposes:

  • The 1998 Ford Windstar, marketed as one of the safest minivans of that year, tested out to a HIC=353 score
  • A small car, a 1998 Dodge Neon, tested at HIC=655
  • A common family sedan, a 1998 Toyota Camry, tested at HIC=525
  • A 2007 Camry also tested in the same range as the 1998 model, at HIC=505 6

A comprehensive searchable database of vehicles and their HIC scores is available at safercargov

Athletics and recreationedit

Sport physiologists and biomechanics experts use the HIC in the research of safety equipment and guidelines for competitive sport and recreation7 In one study, concussions were found to occur at HIC=250 in most athletes8 Studies have been conducted in skiing and other sports to test adequacy of helmets 9

See alsoedit

  • Automobile safety
  • Crash test
  • Sports injury
  • Concussion
  • Sport-related concussion
  • Concussion grading systems


  1. ^ a b Head Injury Criteria and the ATB
  2. ^ Crash Tests and the Head Injury Criterion
  3. ^ A Test Methodology for Assessing Demining Personal Protective Equipment PPE
  4. ^ The increasing importance of the biomechanics of impact trauma
  5. ^ a b c Guidelines for Rating Injury Measures, 2009, IIHS
  6. ^ 2007 Toyota Camry Crash Test Results
  7. ^ ASTM Sport Standard
  8. ^ Head Impact Biomechanics in Sport
  9. ^ Head Injury in Snowboarding: Evaluating the Protective Role of Helmets

External linksedit

  • Use of Head Injury Criterion in Crash Test Ratings
  • Injury Measurements and Criteria

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Head injury criterion

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