Volume 47, Issue 5 (September 2002)

    Driver and Front Seat Passenger Fatalities Associated with Air Bag Deployment. Part 2: A Review of Injury Patterns and Investigative Issues

    (Received 10 April 2002; accepted 23 March 2002)

    Published Online: September

    CODEN: JFSOAD

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    Abstract

    Assessment of the role of air bag deployment in injury causation in a crash of any severity requires analysis of occupant, vehicle, and impact data. The potential injurious role of an air bag is independent of crash severity and is more obvious in minor collisions, particularly those involving “out-of-position” occupants. Factors such as occupant height and other constitutional and medical factors, intoxication, age, type, and proper use of other restraint systems, pre-impact braking and multiple impacts can contribute to an occupant being “out-of-position.” Two injury mechanisms are described in out-of-position occupants: “punch-out” when the individual covers the air bag module before deployment and “membrane-force” when the occupant contacts a partly deployed air bag. Each mechanism is associated with injury patterns. In adults, “punch-out“ can cause thoraco-abdominal trauma and “membrane-force” loading can lead to craniocervical injury. This can also occur in short-statured occupants including children subjected to both types of loading. In more severe collisions, other factors, e.g., intrusion, steering column and seatbelt loading and other occupant compartment contacts, can contribute to trauma.


    Author Information:

    German, A
    Chief, Collision Investigation, Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate, Transport Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

    Nowak, ES
    Research Engineer and Director, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario

    McClafferty, KJ
    Research Engineer and Director, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario

    Shkrum, MJ
    Staff Pathologist, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario


    Stock #: JFS15511J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS15511J

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    Author
    Title Driver and Front Seat Passenger Fatalities Associated with Air Bag Deployment. Part 2: A Review of Injury Patterns and Investigative Issues
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30