The primary objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of second generation (depowered) airbags (1998 model years and later) in reducing driver fatalities inûsevere frontal crashes. The analysis focused on front-to-front crashes involving belted drivers in light vehicles. US fatal accident data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS, 1998-2007) for frontal (head-on) two-vehicle (car-to-car, car-to-truck and truck-to-truck) crashes were analyzed. To select vehicles equipped with second-generation airbags, at least one (the subject) vehicle in each crash was model year 1998 or later. A matched-pair analysis was used to create driver pairs from the subject and the other vehicles in each crash, where the belted driver of the other vehicle was killed as a result of the accident. The high severity of the accidents was ensured by selecting records with fatal drivers in the opposite vehicle. About 3,000 fatal crashes were examined to study the influence of airbag deployment on the likelihood of fatality to belted drivers. Logistic regression was used to control for otherûpotential confounding factors including mass ratio of the two vehicles, driver age, and driver alcohol presence. In addition, the longitudinal delta-V distribution for the studied frontalûcollisions, risk of serious (MAIS 3-6/fatal) injury by delta-V, and airbag deployment rates by delta-V were studied using the National Automotive Sampling System/Crashworthiness DataûSystem (NASS/CDS) data for the years 1997-2007. Field data on high severity frontal crashes involving depowered airbags indicates that airbag deployment is not a statistically significant predictor influencing the likelihood of driver fatality. Other factors, including mass ratio of the two vehicles in a crash, driver age, and alcohol were found to be significant predictors of the odds of fatality. The fatal crashes studied where airbag deployment was not significant were crashes with an average delta-V of about 35 mph (56 kmh). About 67% of these crashes were with delta-V greater than 30 mph (48 kmh) and 24% were with delta-V of 20-30 mph (32-48 kmh). Analysis of airbag deployment by delta-V shows that, even in high delta-V crashes (overû25 mph, or 40 kmh), about 5% of airbags did not deploy. For the covering abstract see ITRD E143807.

  • Authors:
    • EYGES, V
  • Publication Date: 2009


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01144091
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 16 2009 12:26PM