Your request has been submitted.

How have changes in air bag designs affected frontal crash mortality?

Braver, Elisa R.; Shardell, Michelle; Teoh, Eric R.
Annals of Epidemiology
July 2010

Purpose: To determine whether front air bag changes have affected occupant protection, frontal crash mortality rates were compared among front outboard occupants in vehicles having certified-advanced air bags (latest generation of air bags) or sled-certified air bags with and without advanced features.
Methods: Poisson marginal structural models were used to calculate standardized mortality rate ratios (MRRs) for front occupants per registered vehicle.
Results: Vehicle age-corrected mortality rates were lower for drivers of vehicles having sled-certified air bags with advanced features than for drivers having sled-certified air bags without advanced features (MRR = 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.81-0.95), including unbelted men and drivers younger than 60. The mortality rate was higher, though not statistically significant, for drivers having certified-advanced air bags compared with sled-certified air bags with advanced features (vehicle age-corrected MRR = 1.13; 95% CI: 0.97-1.32) and significantly higher for belted drivers (MRR = 1.21; 95% CI: 1.04-1.39).
Conclusions: Advanced air bag features appeared protective for some occupants. However, increased mortality rates among belted drivers of vehicles having certified-advanced air bags relative to those having sled-certified air bags with advanced features suggest that further study is needed to identify any potential problems with requirements for certification.