A loose measure of how much a vehicle is crushed during a head-on or rear-end collision, with higher values providing more safety.
Safety-conscious people are urging more crushability in the 3,500-pound Winston Cup cars following the deaths of four drivers in the last 10 months. The deaths of Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper and Dale Earnhardt were the result of their vehicles crashing nosefirst into concrete walls.
—Bill Fleischman, “NASCAR cars too rigid? The debate goes on,“ Philadelphia Daily News, March 9, 2001
Designing for "Crushability"
For most manufacturers, the approach to passive safety involves building a rigid passenger compartment protected by front and rear ends that absorb impact, lessening the energy that is transmitted to the main part of the body.
—Marshall Schuon, “With Small Cars Proliferating, the Search for Safety Intensifies,“ The New York Times, June 2, 1981
Today's word has been seen quite often of late in the aftermath of the death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt. It's not a new word, however. The mining industry has used it as a characteristic of rocks for at least two decades. (There is even such as thing as a "crushability index" of a rock.)