The Hidden Dangers of a Well-Known Safety Feature

In the past twenty years, there have been many strides made in the improvement of automotive safety.  One of the most notable is the addition of airbags.  All models made after 1998 were required to include airbags.

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), since 1998, airbags have been 75 percent effective in preventing serious head injuries and 66 percent effective in preventing serious chest injuries. 
  • Airbags were designed to deploy in moderate to severe frontal crashes.

Preventing Injuries From Airbags

While they were made designed to save lives, they can also cause extensive damage when they are not used properly.  The following tips can help minimize injury from airbags:

1.Your primary source of restraint should always be a seat belt.  An airbag is considered a secondary source.

  • In 2012, over 50% of people that died in car accidents were not wearing their seat belts. 

2.Your position in the seat is the greatest factor in determining airbag safety.

  • Shorter people face the highest risk when an airbag deploys because they sit closer to the steering wheel.  People under 5’4” should be positioned so that when sitting upright in the seat, their wrists should rest on the steering wheel with a minimum of ten inches between them and the wheel.
  • Children under the age of 12 should never be placed in the front seat unless there is no safer alternative.  Children in a car seat should never be placed in the front seat, especially those that face the rear. When an airbag deploys, it does so at nearly 200 mph.  The force of impact can cause serious damage to a child’s small frame.  Eighty percent of children killed by an airbag are placed in the front seat without a seat belt. 

If a child must sit in the front, move the seat as far back as it will go and make sure the child is properly restrained in a seat belt. You may also check to see if your vehicle has an option to disarm a front passenger airbag.

Were You Injured By an Airbag? Contact Shevlin Smith

No one plans to be involved in a car accident, but unfortunately it can happen.  If you were involved in a car accident in Virginia or DC that was not your fault, contact Shevlin Smith today.  Our Fairfax car accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you through the settlement process.  Call (703) 721-4233 or complete the contact form on this page.  


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