Association between side-impact airbag deployment and risk of injury: A matched cohort study using the CIREN and the NASS-CDS

This study investigates if side air bags (SABs) have been effective in reducing head and thoracic injuries during side-impact collisions. Data from the National Automotive Sampling System-Crashworthiness Data System and the Crash Injury Research Engineering Network for the years 2000-2009 were used to evaluate front seat occupants involved in side-impact motor vehicle collisions. A matched cohort study design was used to compare the risk of serious head and thoracic injuries for occupants with and without deployed SABs. Results showed that occupants in vehicles with a deployed SAB designed to protect the head had a 30% lower risk of moderate or above head injuries. However, occupants in vehicles with a deployed SAB designed to protect the torso had a risk of injury similar to that of occupants without a deployed SAB. SAB deployment may have the potential to increase the risk of serious throrax injury for occupants 50 years and older. The overall findings indicate that SABs do protect occupants from head injury, but offer limited protection against thoracic injury. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01450370
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 26 2012 8:55AM