Technical Report Evaluates Curtain and Side Airbags

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compiled a technical report evaluating the fatality-reducing effectiveness of curtain and side airbags in the front seats of light-duty vehicles. As of MY ’11, 85% of new cars, light trucks and vans were equipped with curtains plus torso bags for drivers and right-front passengers, and about 45% of these vehicles included curtains that deploy in rollover crashes.

Analysis of crash data shows a significant fatality reduction for all four types of curtain and side airbags in near-side impacts for drivers and right-front passengers: curtains plus torso bags, 31.3%; combination head/torso bags, 24.8%; curtains only, 16.4%; and torso bags only, 7.8%. Rollover curtains also demonstrated a significant benefit in first-event rollovers, with an estimated fatality reduction around 41%.

Read the full report.