The Effects of Belt Use and Driver Characteristics on Injury Risk in Frontal Airbag Crashes 2001-01-0155
From the crash investigation files at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the crashes involving deployed airbags were reviewed. The total number of deployments is 898 of which 764 are frontal crashes with the principal direction of force (PDF) at 11-1 o’clock. Of the drivers in these frontal crashes 83% were using the belt restraint.
Overall, seven of ten drivers have an AIS-0 or 1 level injury as the maximum or highest injury severity level (MAIS). Of the survivors, one in six had a moderate level injury (AIS-2) as their most significant injury and one in nine had an MAIS 3 or greater injury. Fatalities are rare.
There is a difference between injury severity frequencies of belted vs. non-belted drivers. Three-quarters of the belted drivers had minor injuries compared to only half of those not belted. A difference was also noted at the AIS-2 level—belted vs. unbelted 14% vs. 23%. Of the belted drivers 10% had an AIS 3–5 injury level compared to 20% of the unbelted.
Drivers with AIS 3, 4 or 5 as their highest AIS level, whether belted or not, have the lower extremity as the body region most often injured. Belted drivers have a slightly higher frequency of upper extremity injuries.