According to the UK daily The independent, Peugeot has not tested their 107 mini car for crashes where the driver weighs more than 78kg. This piece of news came about during an inquest at the High Wycombe Magistrate's Court in Buckinghamshire regarding the death of one Mrs Judith Evans, who weighed 102kg. She had died when the Peugeot 107 she was driving crashed head on into a Vauxhall Vectra on January 20th, 2009.
The inquest arose from Vehicle Safety Consultancy Ltd (VSC), which was asked by the Thames Valley Police to consider the protection offered to Mrs Evans in the collision after they noticed her injuries seemed unusually severe for the force of the impact. A mechanical engineer at VSC, had said Mrs Evans, who was 56 at the time suffered injuries deemed by experts to be “not typical of the outcomes usually seen in such colllisions”. This statement must be deemed quite true as the person driving the larger, Vauxhall Vectra only suffered from fractures to her kneecap and some internal bruising. Both women were said to be driving at about 50-60km/h when the accident occurred.
The inquiry was told that Mrs Evans has suffered from multiple injuries (multiple fractures, chest injuries and abdominal injuries) resulting in death regardless of the “efficient restraint system” whiich included seatbelts, airbags and proper seats. The Peugeot safety expert was then asked by the lawyer representing Mrs Evan's family whether Peugeot had crash tested the 107 with test dummies weighing more than 78kg. It was then found out that Peugeot only tested using the 78kg test dummy. This was the official regulation (most probably the Euro NCAP crash test regulation).
Of course, the inquest was also told that Mrs Evans, normally a cautious driver, was traveling on the wrong side of the road and may have suffered a medical accident (like say, a heart attack, stroke, etc.) before the collision. The lawyers representing Peugeot, pointed out that the Vauxhall was heavier than the Peugeot and suggested that a hard part of the Vauxhall hit a soft part of the Peugeot, whatever that actually means, causing greater crash damage of the Peugeot. Peugeot have not commented much on the matter at this stage of the inquiry.
Now if you think about it, most adult males are above this weight. There would be a high average of men weighing at least 80kg out there and if this were the case, the Peugeot 107 would not be safe for them (and also larger women like the late Mrs Evans). I suppose most crash tests conducted by most car manufacturers are done with the 78kg regulation dummy. In fact, the Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and the Toyota Aygo are the same car with different badging. The other two cars may be affected as well.
Why would they choose to test differently as the standard regulation requires them to only do so? Hence it can be assumed that there are a lot of drivers everywhere that weigh more than 78kg do not have adequate crash protection if they drive small city cars like the Peugeot 107. Quite worrying if you think about it.
So if you do weigh heavier than 78kg, it may be advisable for you to drive a bigger car.