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The effectiveness of side airbags in preventing thoracic injuries in Europe

  • During the last 5 years, the number of cars fitted with side airbags has dramatically increased. They are now standard equipment, even on many smaller cars or less luxurious vehicles. While some side airbags offer thoracic protection alone, there are those that combine thoracic and head protection (of which most deploy from the seat). Other systems employ separate airbags for head and thorax protection, which are designed to be effective noticeably in a crash against a pole. This paper proposes an evaluation of the effectiveness of side airbags in preventing thoracic injuries to passenger car occupants involved in side crashes. First, the target population (who can take benefit of side airbag deployment and in what circumstances) is defined. Side airbags can be especially effective in cases of impacts on the door with intrusion at a certain impact speed. Then, an example case of a side impact with side airbag deployment is given were side airbag deployment is thought to have had a positive effect on injury outcome. A further case is presented where the impact configuration is likely to have reduced the effect of side airbag deployment on injury outcome. Finally, the estimation of side airbag effectiveness (in terms of additional occupant protection brought exclusively by the airbag) is proposed by comparing injury risk sustained by occupants in (more or less) similar cars (fitted or non fitted with airbags) because, during these years, car structure, and side airbag conception have considerably evolved. In-depth accident data from France, the UK and Germany has been collected. Out of 2,035 side impact accident cases available in the databases, we selected 435 occupants of passenger cars (built from 1998 onwards) involved in an injury accident between year 1998 and year 2004 for EES (Energy Equivalent Speed) values between 20km/h and 50km/h. The occupants, belted or not, were sat on the struck side, whatever the obstacle and type of accidents (intersection, loss of control, etc.). For multiple impact crashes, the side impact is assumed to be the more severe one. Passenger cars were fitted with (96) or without (339) side airbags. Most of the potential risk explanatory variables were correctly and reliably reported in the databases (velocity " impact zone " impact angle " occupant characteristics, etc.). The analysis compared injury risks for different levels of EES and different types of side airbags. A logistic regression model was also computed with injury variables (such as thoracic AIS 2+ or AIS 3+) as the dependant variable and other variables (including airbag type and EES) as explanatory injury risk factors. Results revealed statistically non-significant reductions in thoracic AIS 2+ and AIS 3+ injury risk in side airbag equipped cars in the impact violence range selected (odds ratio between 0.84 and 0.98 depending on types of airbags). The results are discussed. The non-significance is assumed to be due to a low number of cases. Statistical analysis for head injuries was not possible due to the low number of accident cases with passenger cars fitted with head airbags in the databases. Moreover, the discrepancies between the data coming from different countries (especially calculation of EES) might have introduced instability in the analysis.

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Author:Y. Page, P. Thomas, A. Kirk, V. Hervé
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2012/08/01
Contributing corporation:Laboratoire d"Accidentologie, de Biomecanique et d"Etudes du Comportement humain PSA Peugeot Citroen Renault
Release Date:2012/08/01
Tag:Airbag; Analyse (math); Brustkorb; Datenerfassung; Konferenz; Kopf; Leistungsfähigkeit (allg); Seite; Seitlicher Zusammenstoß; Statistik; Unfall
Accident; Air bag (restraint system); Analysis (math); Conference; Data acquisition; Side; Side impact; Statistics; Thorax; efficiency; head
Weitere beteiligte Körperschaften: Vehicle Safety Research Centre <Loughborough>; Centre Europeen d" Etudes de Securite et d" Analyse des Risques <Nantrre>
Source:2nd International Conference on ESAR "Expert Symposium on Accident Research", S. 228-237
Institutes:Sonstige / Sonstige
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 36 Soziale Probleme, Sozialdienste / 360 Soziale Probleme und Sozialdienste; Verbände
collections:BASt-Beiträge / ITRD Sachgebiete / 91 Fahrzeugkonstruktion
BASt-Beiträge / Tagungen / International Conference on ESAR / 2nd International Conference on ESAR

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