This study is an extension of previous work on driver air bag deployment loads which used the mid-size male Hybrid Ill dummy. Both small female and mid-size male Hybrid III dummies were tested with a range of near-positions relative to the air bag module. These alignments ranged from the head centered on the module to the chest centered on the module and with various separations and lateral shifts from the module. For both sized dummies the severity of the loading from the air bag depended on alignment and separation of the dummy with respect to the air bag module. No single alignment provided high responses for all body regions, indicating that one test at a typical alignment cannot simultaneously determine the potential for injury risk for the head, neck, and torso.
Based on comparisons with their respective injury assessment reference values, the risk of chest injury appeared similar for both sized dummies. The results suggest that the small female dummy has a greater risk of neck injury over a greater range of alignments in these exposures than does the mid-size male dummy and appears to be an important tool for assessment of neck injury risk in near-position air bag inflation tests. There are insufficient field accident data on near-position injuries to allow the results of this study to be extended to the present driving population. However, the occurrence of such injuries is expected to be infrequent.