Low Speed Vehicle Crash Tests

Transport Canada has conducted crash tests of low speed vehicles to find out what happens to drivers and passengers when these vehicles enter into collisions with rigid barriers and other motor vehicles that comply with crash test regulations.

A low-speed vehicle may look like a car, but it is not a car. It is not required to meet the large number of safety standards (up to 40) that a regular passenger car must meet. The low speed vehicle class was originally intended for controlled low speed environments, like gated communities, where the risk of a LSV entering into a collision with a faster motor vehicle would be lower than on public roads. Transport Canada's crash test results to date confirm that low speed vehicles provide a substantially lower level of occupant protection than conventional passenger cars.

LSV Crash Videos
While the LSV videos depict two makes for the purposes of illustration, Transport Canada 's concerns extend to all makes of LSVs since they are not required to meet any crash safety standards.

Fully Safety-Certified Passenger Cars
Passenger cars need to meet over 40 safety standards (whereas LSVs are required to meet only 4 standards). These design and performance standards include occupant protection during frontal, side, and rear collisions.

As a result, mainstream cars are required to be designed far more robustly than LSVs, and this reduces the risk of injury or death to occupants. However, the level of risk depends on the severity of a crash and the design and extent of protection offered by individual models. The risk is therefore reduced but cannot be eliminated.

Passenger cars are typically designed with a robust occupant compartment structure. The front and rear of a car typically have energy absorbing "crumple zones" which reduce the severity of the forces transmitted to occupants and hence protects them. The doors of a car are typically made of stamped steel plates and comprise energy absorbing materials within. In combination with stiff metal side pillars, this helps to reduce the extent of intrusion of a striking vehicle and decreases the risk of direct contact with the occupants of the struck vehicle.

The internal design of passenger cars also protects their occupants from violent contact with the interior of their own vehicle.

In frontal collisions, the seat belt systems (which often incorporate sophisticated injury reducing components such as impact sensors, pretensioners and load limiters) work in conjunction with the air bags to reduce the risk of head/thorax impact against the steering wheel and dash board.

In rear impact collisions, the head restraints, seat back, seat belts, and seat anchorages work together to protect the occupants.

In side impact collisions, if the vehicle is equipped with side curtain air bags, this would reduce the risk of the occupant's head being struck directly by an intruding vehicle.