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Who conducted the investigation?

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 22, 2001


THE ORGANIZATION: Publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, it is a worldwide leader in automotive safety and a pioneer in seat belts and airbags. The Swedish-based company does the bulk of its business in Europe, with companies such as Sweden's Volvo, but its clients include all major automakers.

ITS ROLE: To determine why Dale Earnhardt's seat belt failed. It also conducted car crash and crash dummy tests for other organizations in the investigation.

NOTABLE: Autoliv had not been involved in auto racing until this year when it proposed to develop safety restraint and energy absorption systems based on the size of NASCAR drivers. NASCAR is considering whether the effort would duplicate efforts of car manufacturers, reported.


Biodynamic Research Corp.

THE ORGANIZATION: The privately held San Antonio, Texas, company specializes in analyzing the response of the human body to forces in events, such as automobile collisions, to determine how or if injuries are caused.

ITS ROLE: To study the movement of Earnhardt's body and how he sustained his fatal injury during the crash.

NOTABLE: The company provided expert testimony in the Rodney King civil rights case in 1993, speaking to how his injuries occurred.


Midwest Roadside Safety Facility

THE ORGANIZATION: Based at the University of Nebraska, it conducts research into highway design and safety. The program is funded primarily by the Federal Highway Administration, Midwest States Regional Pooled Fund Program, state highway agencies, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forrest Service), National Cooperative Highway Research Program and the Center for Infrastructure Research.

ITS ROLE: To study how the car crashed and whether the structure of the car could be improved.

NOTABLE: The organization has done extensive work with the IRL to try to develop soft walls for racetracks.



THE ORGANIZATION: A privately held Daytona Beach-based company controlled by the France family, it sanctions stock car racing in several divisions, including the Winston Cup where Earnhardt competed.

ITS ROLE: To coordinate the investigation.

NOTABLE: NASCAR was criticized for pointing to the seat belt as a possible cause shortly after Earnhardt's death and for not mandating head and neck restraint devices.


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