Belted Driver Injury in Near-Side and Far-Side Impacts, Past and Present 2016-01-1530
NASS/CDS data (1993-2013) was used to examine serious injury rates and injury sources for belted drivers in near- and far-side impacts. Frequency and severity of near- and far-side impacts by crash severity (delta-V) were compared for older (1994-2007 MY) and newer (2008-2013 MY) vehicles. For 2008-2013 MY, individual cases were examined for serious thorax injury in far-side impacts. Results show that, for newer passenger cars, about 92% of side impacts have a delta-V under 15 mph and, for older cars, the percentage is about 86%. The rate of serious injury is higher for nearside compared to far-side crashes for both older and newer models, and the near-side injury rate is much lower for newer models. Safety features, including side airbags, are effective in reducing injuries to near-side belted drivers in newer models. The serious injury rate for near-side belted drivers in older cars is 5.5% for near-side crashes and 1.2% for far-side crashes. For newer models, the serious injury rate for belted drivers is 2.5% near-side and 0.5% far-side. Examination of serious injuries by body region shows that, for newer cars, thorax injuries are a significant portion of serious injuries in both near-side and far-side impacts. Results also show that the presence of a belted right front passenger decreases the serious injury rate to a belted driver by 16% in near-side impacts and 37% in far-side impacts. Detailed NASS/CIREN case review suggests that thorax injuries in far-side impacts are a concern and need to be addressed in the future.