taken of the test) and concluded that “even when properly restrained * * * the driver will come in contact with the roof rail as well as roof under static conditions with ample additional distance through which to flex the neck and produce the same or similar injury.” NR 47:Tab 3 at 5, 7. Moreover, Smith explained that in “a dynamic situation” as was involved in the actual accident (where the vehicle at full speed actually impacts the ground during the rollover), the movement of “the restrained driver” off the seat will be even greater. Ibid. Smith also relied on a variety of other empirical data in reaching this conclusion.15/ On this record, the district court’s decision to strike Lafferty’s lap belt testimony plainly was not an abuse of discretion.16/
Lafferty’s Opinion Concerning The Absence Of Blood On The Lap
Belt And Its Significance. Lafferty’s affidavit, submitted in response to defendants’ summary judgment motion, offered an alternative but no more reliable basis for his
conclusion that the belt must have unbuckled. At his deposition, Lafferty had stated:
15/ Smith explained that his conclusionsabout Clark’s likely impact with the side roof rail during the accident sequence found additional support in accident data collected through the National Accident Sampling System (NASS), in other “published data”found in Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE) monographs, andinthe so-called “Malibu I and II” tests, which were “benchmark tests which show the gross kinematics of bodies when a vehicle undergoes basically barrel rollovers both in unrestrained as well as restrained configurations.” NR 61:Tab 2 at 22-25; NR 47:Tab 3 at 2, 5.
16/ Smith also explained that the accident, which involved “three or four” rollovers of the vehicle as it tumbled down the embankment, was of “suf iciently high energy” that “if Mr. Clark had not been properly restrainedwithbothlapbeltandshoulderharnesshewouldhavefaredthesameejectionoutcome as his passengers who were not restrained (Brogdon) or only shoulder harness restrained (Borders).” NR 47:Tab 3 at 6. Smith testified as well that if the lap belt had released, Clark would not haveretained a relatively normal driving position a ter the car came to a stop.Ibid. (Clark’s “ inal position at rest in thedriver’s seat is inconsistent with just shoulder belt usage”). Because Clark was not ejected from the car and had remained in a relatively normal driving position, Smith concluded that the lap belt did notunbuckle. This evidence was uncontradicted.