The Relationship Between Airbags and Injuries 2005-01-1231
The purpose of this study was to analyze real world crash data to determine whether airbags cause more severe injuries than they prevent and which types of injuries they cause. Using data from the National Accident Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS CDS), we examined passenger vehicles involved in frontal collisions for calendar years 1995-2003. We found that 99% of airbag-induced injuries to front outboard occupants are minor or moderate, regardless of the occupants' belt use. Belted occupants are 4 times more likely to sustain an AIS3+ injury (serious, severe, critical, or maximum) from any injury source compared to occupants with an airbag-induced injury; the risk of AIS3+ injury from any source is even higher for unbelted occupants. The evidence suggests that airbags do indeed mitigate severe injury.