The effectiveness of airbags in Australia as determined by in-depth crash injury research
This study presents some results from a case-control study of crashed vehicles equipped with Australian airbag technology (Supplementary Restraint Systems). Vehicles were inspected and occupants interviewed according to the National Accident Sampling System (NASS). Data were available for 383 belted drivers involved in frontal crashes including 253 drivers in airbag-equipped vehicles and 130 drivers in non-airbag vehicles. The analysis revealed reductions in the numbers of injuries to the head, face chest and neck in the airbag-equipped vehicles although the numbers of upper extremity injuries increased. At higher injury severities (AIS2+) reductions were also observed in injuries to the head, face, neck and chest. Further analysis using Harm as an outcome measure found that the mean Harm per driver (in terms of $AUD) were 60% greater in the non-airbag vehicles compared with the airbag-equipped vehicles. Thus airbags in Australia would appear to offer a significant saving in terms of costs to society. In general, the main conclusion from the study was that the results offer a strong indication that the Australian Design Rule (ADR) 69 requirement has been successful at addressing some of the outstanding issues that remain for injury prevention for drivers involved in frontal impacts.