Former Director of Crashworthiness Standards

In Memory of His Passing and Significant Contributions to Vehicle Safety Standards

James Hackney, of Fraser, Colorado, died July 14th, 2005. He was 67. James (“Jim Bob” to his many close friends in Colorado) came to the mountains to enjoy retirement with Dot, his wife of 48 years. He enjoyed five years in Grand County, skiing, hiking and biking. He died peacefully in his sleep.

He worked tirelessly to improve vehicle safety as Director of the Office of Crashworthiness Standards in the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, and during his tenure co-authored the highly respected SAE Technical Paper entitled The New Car Assessment Program: Five Star Rating System and Vehicle Safety Performance Characteristics. Document # 950888

A memorial service took place at Columbine Point Outdoor Chapel July 18.

Professional Experience
1972 to 2000 – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

1995 to 2000 – Director, Office of Crashworthiness Standards. Responsible for all FMVSS 200 and 300 series standards and NCAP – front, side, rollover, rear impact, child restrainsts, school bus safety, fuel system integrity. Completed rulemaking in head impact protection, advanced air bags, electric vehicles, uniform child restraints, upgraded fuel system integrity, roof strength, seat back strength, and head restraints.

1990 to 1995 – Deputy Director & Office Director Rulemaking/Safety Performance Standards. Responsible for NCAP, Fuel Economy, Theft Prevention. Expanded NCAP to side impacts, established five star crash system.

1972 to 1990 – Division Chief and Acting Office Director, Crashworthiness Research (from 1978 to 1990). Research and Development of vehicle crashworthiness – front, side, rollover, rear safety programs. Developed and initiated the New Car Assessment Program in 1978. Led the research in developing the dynamic side impact testing standard. Established the standardized/computer crashworthiness data bases.

SAE Technical Papers Published:
Title: The New Car Assessment Program: Five Star Rating System and Vehicle Safety Performance Characteristics.
Document #: 950888

James R. Hackney – NHTSA
Charles J. Kahane – NHTSA

In the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), beginning with the model year 1994 vehicles, the NHTSA developed and adopted a simplified non-numeric format for presenting the comparative frontal crashworthiness safety information to consumers. This paper presents the basis for the development of this “star rating” system. The injury probablility functions which are used for the start rating system are also applied to the results of the recent NCAP real-world correlation studies and a review of these studies is given.

The safety performance for restrained occupants as measured in NCAP is dependent on several parameters which include the design of the restraint system, the maintenance of the integrity of the occupant space, and the energy management performance of the front structure.

There have always been some concerns that in designing for “Lower Risk” performance in the 35MPH NCAP tests, energy management structures could be improperly designed for other frontal crash conditions and crash severities. This point is discussed and structural parameters of “Lower Risk” and “Higher Risk” passenger cars, light trucks, vans, and sprot utility vehicles are compared.

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