1997-02-24

Upper-Extremity Injuries From Steering Wheel Airbag Deployments 970493

In a review of 540 crashes in which the steering-wheel airbag deployed, 38% of the drivers sustained some level of upper extremity injury. The majority of these were AIS-1 injuries including abrasions, contusions and small lacerations. In 18 crashes the drivers sustained AIS-2 or-3 level upper extremity injuries, including fractures of the radius and/or ulna, or of the metacarpal bones, all related to airbag deployments. It was determined that six drivers sustained the fracture(s) directly from the deploying airbag or the airbag module cover. The remaining 12 drivers had fractures from the extremity being flung into interior vehicle structures, usually the instrument panel. Most drivers were taller than 170 cm and, of the 18 drivers, 10 were males.

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