To evaluate the effect driver-side and passenger-side airbags have had on the incidence and severity of maxillofacial trauma in victims of automobile accidents.
Retrospective analysis of all automobile (passenger cars and light trucks) accidents reported in 1994.
New York State.
Of the 595 910 individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents in New York in 1994, 377 054 individuals were initially selected from accidents involving cars and light trucks. Of this subset, 164 238 drivers and 62 755 right front passengers were selected for analysis.
Main Outcome Measures
Each case is described in a single record with approximately 100 variables describing the accident, eg, vehicle, safety equipment installed and utilized or deployed, occupant position, patient demographics, International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnoses, and procedural treatments rendered. A maxillofacial trauma severity scale was devised, based on the ICD-9-CM diagnoses.
Individuals using airbags and seat belts sustained facial injuries at a rate of 1 in 449, compared with a rate of 1 in 40 for individuals who did not use seat belts or airbags (P<.001). Those using airbags alone sustained facial injuries at the intermediate rate of 1 in 148, and victims using seat belts without airbags demonstrated an injury rate of 1 in 217 (P<.001).
Use of driver-side airbags, when combined with use of seat belts, has resulted in a decrease in the incidence and severity of maxillofacial trauma.