This study estimated how much airbags reduce the fatailty risk in crashes for drivers and right front seat occupants of passenger cars. Four different approaches were used to make the estimate. One compared fatality rates per registered vehicle year, another compared the fatality risks of the drivers of two colliding cars, the third compared the fatality rates of drivers and right front seat occupants of the same car, and the fourth compared the distribution of impact points on cars between airbag and nonairbag cars where the driver, or the right front seat occupant was killed. Statisical techniques were used to control for the effects of several confounding factors. Separate estimates were made for car weight classes, and driver age classes, and attempted for some crash conditions. Overall, airbags reduce the driver fatality risk in a crash. However, it appears to differ between vehicle classes and crash types. It may be higher than 60% in certain crash types, and there might be no overall effect for certain car classes. It is strongest in frontal impacts, and there primarily in 12 o'clock impacts. There may be no effect in other than frontal impacts. When belts are not used, airbags appear to have no overall effect, though they have an effect in frontal impacts. When belts are used, airbags do offer additional protection, in frontal as well as in all impacts.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

    2901 Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109-2150

    Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142
  • Authors:
    • Joksch, H C
  • Publication Date: 1995-8


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 112 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00724708
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMTRI-95-33 Final Report
  • Contract Numbers: DTR557-93-C-00173 TTD No.2
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 2 1996 12:00AM