Human factors in a compact mobile workspace: a case study of patrol vehicles

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© 2013 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Human safety is of high priority in workspace design. The proximity of potentially hazardous objects is a threat in a compact workspace. It is even more challenging in a mobile workspace, owing to the inertial forces involved. A police car is one such example. Space restrictions due to airbag deployment, human trajectories in case of a collision and visibility issues and distractions limit the available space for in-car accessories such as laptop, radio, camera and radar controls. While safety may require that the equipment be moved farther away from the driver in case of a crash, more driver attention will be demanded for secondary tasks, leading to distraction. Hence it becomes necessary to find a balance between safety and ergonomics. In this present case study, far-side crashes to police vehicles are considered, which cause the driver to fall towards the in-car equipment. Sled tests were conducted on 50th and 95th percentile male dummies (Anthropomorphic Test Devices) seated in an SUV and a sedan, at 19.9mph (32kph), for 40° and 70° angles of impact. These trajectories are compared against the mounting locations of the equipment, and airbag deployment zones. 12 local police officers were surveyed regarding the human factor issues in the cockpit, using subject-based ratings. An analysis of this comparison and potential injury outcomes are discussed as well.

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Advances in Human Aspects of Road and Rail Transportation