Unfallforschung: Konsequenzen für die Auslegung von Rückhaltesystemen
1997, pp. 186 – 190 (#7/8)
Now that the air bag has been standard equipment in BMW cars for some years, the proportion of accidents involving cars with airbags is naturally increasing as well. To date, more than 1.500 accidents involving airbag-equipped BMW cars have been recorded in the BMW accident data base; 65% of the total were frontal or side impact collisions.
A field survey which investigated drivers wearing seat belts who were involved in frontal collisions in cars with and without airbag revealed a positive correlation between increasing collision severity EES and injury severity MAIS, in favour of the belted drivers in airbag equipped cars. There is clear evidence of the life-saving and injury-reducing effect of the airbag in severe road accidents.
In contrast to this, the evaluation reveals an increase in slight injuries where the airbag deployed in less severe accidents. Detailed investigations of thorax injuries only show that although the airbag reduces injuries, the seat belt system plays a considerable part in causing minor (AIS 2) injuries.
In the BMW accident data archive, the side impact constitute approximately 20% of the total number of accidents. If injuries are classified according to the affected parts of the body, head injuries prove, together with thorax injuries, to be the predominant cause of fatalities.