This investigation encompasses a comprehensive evaluation of air bag field performance, in comparison with the no restraint, or other restraint conditions. The paper at hand addresses: Cars, Exposure, Occupants, Restraints, & Protection provided by the restraints. A companion paper addresses the injury patterns of car occupants.
The findings of the investigation are based on two primary sources of national coverage: (i) the field crash experience contained in the records of NHTSA's NASS/CDS 1988-1992; and (ii) the fatal accident experience contained in NHTSA's FARS 1991-1993.
The investigation focuses on car drivers. Because of the relatively late and limited introduction of air bags, all other light vehicle populations are either not represented, or represented by a very meager sample in the sources cited above.