Airbag Deployment Thresholds from Analysis of the NASS EDR Database 2014-01-0496
Accident reconstructionists and others use airbag non-deployment thresholds as an indicator of severity in minor- to moderate-severity accidents. The National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) has accessed and recorded the data stored in the airbag control modules of nearly 6,300 vehicles since 2000 and has made these data publicly available. The goal of this study is to ascertain thresholds from the data based on delta-V and seatbelt use, studying how they may differ among manufacturers and over time. Other data is also examined, such as seatbelt pre-tensioner fire times and airbag deployment signal times. These data have been analyzed for use in accident reconstruction for vehicles which may or may not be supported by a publicly available module download tool. While manufacturers at one point published deployment data in owner's manuals, this has not been the case for approximately five to ten years. The dataset analysis will compare the published data for deployment thresholds to real world accidents. Over time, with the addition of occupant classification systems and dual-stage airbags, there has been an increase in variability for airbag deployment times and thresholds. The analysis thus far shows the thresholds from the dataset to be in general agreement with published data.