A GM analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database (NHTSA FARS) found that interior deaths cause by far-side impact crashes or lateral crashes accounted for 11% of the belted front-occupant fatalities in non-rollover accidents between 2004 and 2009.
Also implied in the interior deaths GM studied is that much more work remains to be done from a design point of view. Problems include safety belts that don’t hold an occupant laterally. There are also the now ubiquitous center consoles and sharply defined cockpits that are causing serious and fatal injuries, as well as the seat itself, which allows deadly lateral movement.
With intense engineering, some of these interior deaths could be mitigated by passive solutions. This could be far less expensive than adding another airbag system to every new vehicle. It is worth intense study because explosive devices, as Takata conclusively proved, can go off at the wrong time with deadly consequences.
See also AutoInformed – Hyundai Interseat Airbag Reduces Head Injuries 80%