Side impact crashes, the most lethal type, account for 26% of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The purpose of this study is to delineate side impact airbag
rates, injury rates, and analyze crash factors associated with SIAB deployment
and occupant injury.
All passenger vehicles equipped with SIABs that were involved in a side impact crash were identified from the National Automotive Sampling System database. Crashes with multiple impacts, ejections, unbelted drivers or rollovers were excluded from the study. The outcome variables of interest were SIAB deployment
and driver injury. SIAB deployment
was compared in similar crashes to analyze the impact on driver’s injury severity score. Other crash factors were also examined to analyze what role they play in SIAB deployment
rates and injury rates, such as plane of contact, striking object and Delta-V.
The data set for this study contained 247 drivers in near and far side crashes in vehicles with installed SIABs. Overall SIAB deployment
was 43% in side impact crashes. A significant factor associated with both the SIAB deployment
rate and the driver’s injury rate was increased Delta-V.
SIABs do not deploy consistently in crashes with a high Delta-V or with a lateral primary direction of force and a front plane of contact. In these two scenarios, further research is warranted on SIAB deployments. With SIAB deployment
, it appears drivers are able to sustain a higher Delta-V impact without serious injury.