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MSF provides education on Head/Neck restraints suitable for OEM 3-point belts in street cars

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Mark HPDE Ambassador's picture
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November 16, 2016
MSF provides education on Head/Neck restraints suitable for OEM 3-point belts in street cars

In cooperation with Simpson Safety products and MotorsportReg.com, the MSF advocates for using the Simpson Hybrid head/neck restraint system while doing track days in street cars that are equipped with standard 3-point seat belts. We want to educate drivers that one can get full benefits of modern head/neck restraint systems without adopting full 6-point harnesses or seat modifications in your street car. See the video here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30mjEbQ7RbY&feature=youtu.be

Simpson offers MSF followers a discount for orders placed before December 15th, 2016. Order here: 

http://msreg.com/simpsonhybrid

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January 10, 2017

Hello Mark,

A few clubs and for profit HPDE providers have been talking about head / neck restraint systems for HPDE as a requirement for any car set up a harness system.  Why?  I am not aware of any injuries or deaths in HPDE that could have been prevented by thier use. 

  Getting into a hot rod at speed  with only factory  3 point belts is high risk.... don't see this system offering much added protection in a hard or catistrophic incident.   Are we selling a  false sence of protection? 

Don Salisbury

Mark HPDE Ambassador's picture
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January 10, 2017

Hi Don. I've also heard "discussion" about mandating such equipment. But, no one in the conversation has the authority or the legitimacy to implement it. It does not seem practical, or relevant. I would not advocate for a major makeover of conventional standard practices without having significant and verifiable data to validate the effectiveness of such a "rule". In the context of the hobby driver doing non-competition HPDE track days, it's obvious that the minimum requirements are an OEM 3-point belt and a helmet. Then, a multi-point aftermarket restraint is an optional upgrade (assuming proper installation). Then, adding a H/N restraint is an additional upgrade. Anywhere the driver implements an upgrade to their safety equipment, it should be applauded and encouraged. To tell a driver that, he has degraded his safety byupgrading his harness config, without adding a H/N restraint, is, well, bullshit. Of course, adding full restraints is a safety upgrade. And, it's all on 'the path' to better cockpit safety. One mod at a time... 

The people that provide leadership to track day clubs and hobby drivers should openly encourage any reasonable safety equipment upgrade. It's self-defeating to suggest to a driver that he can't install harnesses without also adopting a head/neck restraint. The driver must have the freedom to do either, one or the other, or both, as his cockpit config and budget allow. 

-Mark

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January 11, 2017

Well said..... I have had to wear a helmet since my 1st track event in 1976. I have never needed one. Point, more attention to why safety equipment is important rather than just blindly assuming that adding more is better.  Maybe but maybe not. Starting with a clear understanding that safety equipment should be concidered for protection from "bad luck".  Driving skills can prevent some incidents.....but luck is just that. Drivers have little say when its their turn for bad luck. A better plan for protection than "good luck" is a safe cockpit.  I had a student with a $1500 helmet a few years ago tell me his head was worth the investment..... hot Z06 with factory safety. " If you experince a cart wheel or end over end at the braking point on the longest straight at 150mph ....chances are the helmet will have little affect on the outcome."

I wonder if many of the hobby drivers understand the evolution of safety equipment. They were fire suits before they were drivers suits.

This is a great forum for exchanging ideas on HPDE track safety.... we need to get more drivers adding their two cents.

 

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March 11, 2017

I think both yourself and Mark have missed the boat..The 3 point system and the 5+ point system's work different. 

Should the driver think of an upgrade to a shoulder restraint system, he should have something to prevent ,in simple terms, neck stretch. Even in HPDE, a vehicle may hit a wall at 90 degree at a speed above 40 MPH. Using the DOT 3 point system allows for forward movement until you hit the airbag,or airbag hits you. Having a 5+ point system, your shoulders are held back in the seat. Your helmet and head move forward until the impact happens, and should you have no airbag, your neck will stretch even further.. The new clip-in systems for street cars, allow for forward movement to prevent submarine movement. This systen needs the airbag and is made to a specific vehicle, and seat.

As mentioned, you want to keep the driver in the seat, with as little movement as possible.  Also, a good helmet is always better than a cheap one. Have any of you ever worked motorcycle events? Have you ever seen a DOT helmet  fly off a driver due to a rivit failure? This does not happen to a Snell certified helmet.

I do not know of any  frontal crash  fatal neck injuries, when a driver has had a proper belt and FHANR system worn properly. There are nonsurvival crashes, but this is not what we are talking about. HPDS  speeds are controlled somewhat, but mechanicals can happen. It all comes down to, can you hit something at a speed over 45 MPH and stop there?.If the answer is yes, and you have a +6 point system, you should be wearing a neck protection system.  To tell the driver differently, you are not doing them any favor. Once he knows the risk, the choice is his and his spouse.

Calabogiesafety   

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March 18, 2017

A FHR (current FIA terminology, frontal head restraint) works in that direction. It is not a beginning safety device...it handles one risk when other more common risks have been mitigated.

On the varies marque forums drivers talk more about brake pads and tires than safety equipment. OEM restraints are not designed for the forces, tests are all under 60 mph. Beyond that, cars in HPDE events have no head or arm protection in side impacts, impacts that the FHR plays no role in.

On the forums, comfort and lowering the driver in the car appear to be primary seat concerns. Side head restraints are avoided because of the dual purposes nature of the cars. Virtually none of the seat manufacturers off removable side head and shoulder restraints. On seats with side head restraints, the restraint is not height adjustable ensuring for most drivers it is not correctly positioned. 

Simpson is the only company with an FHR that is self-contained, and therefore can be said to work OEM 3-point seat belts. That is on the order of an insurance policy that covers nuclear war but not hurricanes. 

The fatalities in HPDE, based on the limited public data, appear to be largely from the person's head hitting something alongside the car. That would include the instructor at Summit Point and the Mustang driver at Road Atlanta. The effort should be to create lateral head restraints that attach to the seat and are removable. These don't otherwise exist.

There are other differences between street cars and race cars. Race cars using water in their cooling systems. Street cars use anti-freeze which produces and extremely slippery surface if it escapes. Creating and requiring a coolant that can replace anti-freeze for street cars that participate in HPDE events would have a much bigger effect than any FHR.

Finally, Spec Miata isn't an end-all in safety equipment. In some ways, it is an example of what is often wrong with racing rules. SCCA has a rule that the Spec Miata's cage can only connect to the car at 8 points and can't go through interior sheet metal. The rule is a holdover from an era where they felt the cage was as much a performance device stiffening the chassis as it was a safety device. As a result door bars don't connect to frame beneath them and often take a circuitous route to provide clearance for the driver. That route compromises their strength. It also limits how the cage ties into the front structure. Once consequence was the door bars being torn off in a 2015 crash at Texas World Speedway.

 

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April 2, 2017

Let me address this from a different view.  I was being sarcastic....lapping a car with a 3 point belt is a major concern or should be. Requiring a driver wear a long sleeve t-shirt to protect them from fire or a helmet to protect them in high speed rollover into the armco is feel good safety equipment, that may encourage a false confiidence. If we compare the beginnings of HPDE and  the current model, it might best be decribed as a transition from HP autocross to racing without rules. SCCA tried something similar in the 70s, Showroom Stock. A class where you could drive to the track, race and drive it to work Monday morning. SS in the beginning had very limited safety equpiment. That proved to not be enough. The class evoled to cages, harness, firesystems....same as the other SCCA classes. In racing each catastrophic incident is investigated and adjustments to safety equipment often follow....quickly. It is the culture, safety first. That is lacking in HPDE.  We don't learn, we call the next run group. Training is the HPDE answer to adjust for these incidents, hard to train a student to handle an oiled braking zone. Should the student exceed the limits of;  the factory safety equipment, the t-shirt and helmet / hope they have some good luck left. And if they are out of control and sliding to impact a stationary car... all the safety barrier and run off area improvments, worthless. We have a culture in HPDE ....we don't share incident reports.  No one will post them for student / instructors to review. How can HPDE student / instructor prepare for the risk with out knowing the risk?

 The only time an incident is discussed ..... when there is a death, and only becasue the media covers it!. These incident reports should be cleaned of personal information and posted for all to  review. Only then can you truely say tracking a car with a factory 3 point belt was your personal " acceptable risk". Frankly we have no idea how many injuries and deaths have accured.

WAG 

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