Effectiveness of airbag restraints in frontal crashes - what European field studies tell us

UK and German field accident data show that European airbag systems provide a 35% and 56% reduction in AIS 2+ injury to the cranium and face when belted drivers sustain MAIS 2+ injury in frontal crashes. The highest benefits of airbags were seen in crashes exceeding 30 km/h delta v. Airbags do not appear to affect a reduction in chest injuries and they exert a neutral influence on the incidence of cervical spine strain. Drivers with deployed airbags sustained proportionately more AIS 2+ upper limb injuries than those in vehicles without airbags. That difference was largely the result of a higher proportion of clavicle fractures. Overall, deployment thresholds correlate well to the onset of moderate/serious head injury but there appear to be some unnecessary deployments at low crash severities.