This is the second of five biennial reports on the effectiveness of occupant protection systems and safety belt use. Major findings presented in this report are as follows: (1) Air bags provide fatality-reducing protection in potentially fatal crashes. Drivers protected by air bags experienced reduced fatality risk of 28-35% in purely frontal crashes. (2) Concerning overall injury reduction, the combination of an air bag plus lap-shoulder belt provides the same injury-reducing protection as belts alone, in all types of crashes. This finding is consistent with the agency's expectations as noted in the 1984 regulatory analysis supporting the issuance of the safety standard mandating automatic occupant crash protection. (3) Further analysis of the data shows that air bags reduce the likelihood of injury to an occupant's head, neck, face, chest, and abdomen. Injuries to these body regions are much more likely to be life threatening. These analyses also show that air bags can be associated with an increased risk of arm injury. Additional analysis and research are currently underway to better understand these findings. (4) As of December 1994, state surveys indicated safety belt use rates ranging from 32% in North Dakota to 84% in Hawaii. An estimate of national safety belt use is derived through a population-weighted average of these state use rates. The national safety belt use rate as of December 1994 was 67%. This report is organized as follows: Executive Summary; Background - History of FMVSS 208 Requirements, Descriptions of Occupant Protection Systems, How Air Bags Work, and Market Penetration of the Various Occupant Protection Systems; Estimating Effectiveness - The Analytical Challenge, Analysis Overview, Results of Injury-Reducing Effectiveness Analysis, and Results of Fatality-Reducing Effectiveness of Air Bags; and Safety Belt Use Data and Analyses - Safety Belt Use by the Public, by Federal Employees, by State and Local Government Employees, and by State and Local Police.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 35 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00724883
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-042 143, HS-808 389
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 16 1996 12:00AM