Side curtain airbag systems are very beneficial in helping reduce the risk of injuries to passengers in side-impact accidents. New studies, however, find that these systems also do a very good job of protecting occupants from injuries in the most devastating types of accidents – vehicle rollovers.
According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side airbags can reduce the risk of front seat fatalities in rollover accidents by as much as 41%. According to estimates by the federal agency, as many as 30% of all 2014 model year automobiles now come with side curtain airbag systems. These systems are expected to become standard features on more automobiles very soon. There are different types of side airbags available. However, approximately 83% of 2014 model automobiles come with curtain plus torso airbags.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, curtain plus torso airbag systems reduce the risk of front seat occupant death by as much as 31%, while combination head/torso airbags reduce the risk of fatality by as much as 25%. Curtain airbags on their own reduce risks by 16%, while torso airbags reduce the risk by 8%.
Side impact accidents, like broadsiding accidents, have a very high risk of injury because occupants sitting at the sides typically have very little protection from serious injuries. In a frontal impact or head-on accident, a combination of airbags and seatbelts can help reduce injury risks. However, an occupant may be at a high risk of serious injuries or fatalities in side impact accidents even when he's wearing a seatbelt.
Auto technologies like side airbag systems have played a major role in helping reduce the number of people killed in accidents in recent years.