The thesis presents an investigation of pregnant women s safety and comfort needs during car travel. A survey is used to investigate all aspects and problems of car travel. This survey is a comprehensive examination of the entire driving activity with much detail of reported difficulties from pregnant women that forms a novel resource for the automotive engineers. The survey results are used to generate guidelines for the automotive industry.
A series of sled tests are presented that investigate seat belt use in pregnancy including the use of lap belt positioners. The peak abdominal pressure results clearly agree with current guidelines that the lap belt should be positioned across the hips and not across the abdomen.
This research includes a novel anthropometric dataset for 107 pregnant women including measurements especially selected for the field of automotive design and to describe the changes of pregnancy. This includes investigation of pregnant driver s proximity to the steering wheel. A novel measurement of knee splay is used to define the pregnant women s preference to sit with their knees widely spaced instead of knees together, in both normal sitting and in a car. Comparison is made between the pregnant women's measurements and the available data in the literature for non-pregnant women and males, and this shows that pregnant women can be excluded from designs if the accommodation does not consider their needs.
The pregnant women's anthropometric data is presented as a novel website in order to make the data available to the automotive industry. This website is generated for use by automotive engineers and is designed to suit their usability needs and the general trends within the industry, in order to make the site more user-friendly and more likely to be used as a reference for pregnant occupant's needs.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.