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"Air Bag Interaction with and Injury Potential from Common Steering Control Devices"

Report # DOT HS 808 580, is available from the National Technical Information Service at 703-487-4650. Ask for publication PB 97 167233/LL. Cost $47 + shipping and handling.

This study explored the potential degradation in crash safety due to steering control devices (SCD) mounted to the steering wheel rim. Sled tests were conducted in two restraint conditions: with occupant restraint belts only, and with both belts and air bag. Information from both dynamic and static tests, in combination with relevant data from other sources, was used to estimate the SCD's injury potential. The results indicated that the devices did not compromise air bag performance nor were they permanently displaced by air bag deployment. Although the study methods were insufficient to precisely quantify SCD loading and there is insufficient information concerning penetrating injury mechanisms to predict the nature, severity, or frequency of occurrence of the injuries, the test results strongly suggest that contact with certain SCDs could injure a driver in a frontal collision.