WELSH, R. and WATSON, J., 2004. An assessment of airbag deployments for small drivers. IN: Proceedings of the IMechE Conference Vehicle Safety 2004, 14-15 December, London.
Accident studies have shown airbags to be effective in reducing the likelihood and severity of serious head injury for drivers in the event of a crash. There remains, however, the potential for adverse injury outcome in cases where an early contact is made with a partially deployed airbag. This is of particular concern for smaller drivers who may need to adopt a more forward seating position in order to adequately drive their vehicle. Finite element modelling, using a 5th percentile female model has been used to explore the interaction of the head with the airbag for a variety of seating positions and frontal impact severities. The results have been used to determine, for a typical European passenger car, the distance required between the chest and the steering wheel to avoid head contact with the airbag prior to full deployment.