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Int J Legal Med. 2004 Feb;118(1):9-13. Epub 2003 Nov 22.

Airbag contact in traffic accidents: DNA detection to determine the driver identity.

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Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Innsbruck, M├╝llerstrasse 44, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


A total of 34 deployed driver and passenger airbags from altogether 20 vehicles after frontal collisions were investigated. In 80% of the airbags possible biological traces could be located with an alternative light source (ALS, Polilight) at a wavelength of 450-470 nm. These traces were swabbed, a part of them additionally cut and subjected to DNA analysis, which led to comparable SGMplus profiles in about 60%. In the 20% of the airbags on which no possible biological traces could be located, the whole surfaces were swabbed. In these cases subsequent DNA profiling mostly led to non-interpretable results. For the evaluation and interpretation of the data, buccal swab samples provided by drivers and co-drivers were analysed. The results and conclusions from DNA analyses and the declarations from the involved passengers were always concordant. Thus, molecular biological analysis of deployed airbags can help to determine the occupants positions within a vehicle (driver or passenger status) at the time of impact.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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