Airbag Deployment Crashes in Canada
Published May 13, 1996 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in United States
In the fall of 1993, Transport Canada initiated a major field accident study to examine the injury experience of occupants protected by supplementary airbag systems. While the initial findings of this study confirm that belted drivers are afforded added protection against head and facial fracture injury in moderate-to-severe frontal collisions, the findings also suggest that these benefits are being negated by a high incidence of bag-induced injury. Most bag-related injuries consist of A facial injuries and AIS 1 to 3 upper extremity injuries. However, they can include AIS ≥ 3 injuries to other body regions if the occupant is close to the deploying airbag. The incidence of bag-induced injury was greatest among female drivers.
To further quantify the benefits and drawbacks afforded by airbag systems, particularly as a function of collision severity, additional analyses were carried out using U.S. field accident data. Both Canadian and U.S. data examined suggest the protection afforded belted drivers by airbag systems would be greatly enhanced if deployment thresholds were increased. Far greater attention to the protection requirements of female drivers needs to be given in federal regulations addressing restraint system performance.