Sunday, April 13, 2014
Patricia Rosoff, 64, in West Hartford, CT, Killed in Car vs. Bus Crash
Patricia Rosoff, 64 (killed) on 3/25/14 at around 7:10 AM in West Hartford, CT. She was involved a collision in her 2000 Saab 9-3 with a full-size school bus at the Boulevard and Mountain Road intersections. No injuries were reported to the driver or 18 students aboard the bus. She was the dean of humanities and an art / English teacher at Kingsword Oxford School, where she had worked for 39 years and where she was headed to work that morning.
Rosoff was eastbound while the bus was southbound. At the intersection, she was hit on the driver's side by the bus. She was wearing her seat belt and was cut out of the car by firefighters. She was taken to the local hospital and pronounced dead.
It's unclear at this time whether the bus driver ran the light or whether Rosoff did, although one of the drivers almost certainly did. However, what is clear is that she was driving a 2000 Saab 9-3, a midsized vehicle weighing ~3137 lbs and equipped with front seat combination head and torso side airbags. The vehicle was never side impact tested, but would likely have received a marginal or acceptable score. It was impacted, however, by a full-size school bus, which weighs between 22,000 and 28,000 lbs empty. Adding 19 occupants at an estimated weight of 120 lbs, we can estimate its weight at 28,000 lbs. That's 848% of the weight of the simulated vehicle in the IIHS side impact test.
Given the likely speeds of the collision (~31 mph), the collision likely imparted at least 1.22MJ of energy into the Saab. The standard side impact test simulates 143KJ of energy (a 3300-lb sled impacting a vehicle at 31 mph). In other words, Rosoff faced 853% of the force she'd have experienced in the types of crashes cars are side rated for. Even though she was wearing her seat belt and traveling in a vehicle equipped with head and torso side air bags, her odds of survival were, sadly, virtually non-existent.
It is noteworthy, though not unexpected, that there is negligible damage to the front of the school bus, while the same cannot be said for the side of the Saab, where the front and side deployed airbags are visible, as is a significant amount of intrusion.
In most side impact crashes I've looked at, the predetermining factor in the KE = .5 * M * V^2 equation that leads to death from the kinetic energy is the speed (V) of the T-boning vehicle. However, in cases such as these, even though the speed was likely no higher than that in side impact tests, the overwhelming M of the school bus proved just as severe in provoking a fatal amount of KE transfer.
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