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What You Need to Know About Airbags


Today’s automobiles incorporate many new safety features, but the seat belt and airbag will remain the most beneficial in preventing deaths as a result of an accident. Airbags deploy in front-end or near front-end collisions.


The United States requires deployment in a crash deceleration of as little as 14mph into a barrier.


The concept of the airbag is that it is a soft pillow to land on if a crash occurs. Since 1998 all new cars must have front airbags for the driver and passenger, but many auto manufacturers have gone beyond this minimal requirement and include up to eight airbags placed strategically throughout the vehicle. Airbags are considered supplemental protection and designed to work with seatbelts.


Airbags reduce the possibility of your head striking the vehicle’s interior during a crash. Side airbags are also available in many new cars.


The on-off switch


According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are conditions where the risk of a front airbag deployment is more significant than its safety benefits. These include a rear-facing infant restraint in the front seat area, a child under 13 with a medical condition that requires monitoring in the front seat, an adult with a medical condition when they are safer with the frontal airbag turned off and where the driver is small in stature and must sit close to the  steering wheel.

about airbags



To understand the basics of how airbags work, we must turn to pure physics and the laws of motion.


Moving objects have momentum (the product of an object’s mass and velocity). The purpose will continue to move in its original direction at a predetermined speed unless it meets up with an outside force. To stop an object in motion requires force acting.


With an accident, the car’s momentum stops when it comes into contact with another vehicle or object, but the persons inside will continue moving until a force is imposed to cause it to stop.


The goal of the airbag is to help stop the passenger while doing as little damage to him or her as possible. Deployment of the airbag must happen within the fraction of a second. The airbag slows the person without abruptly stopping them. In this way, there is less possibility of serious injuries.


 Why airbags sometimes do not deploy during an accident?


Thorough several reasons where an airbag may not be activated after a crash, and airbags are not designed to deploy in every accident.


Sometimes, airbags are not designed to deploy or do not activate. Here are a few scenarios where the airbag may not deploy:


  • Minor crashes.
  • Passenger airbags may not deploy when the passenger is small, or there is no occupant in the passenger seat.
  • Some advanced side airbags may not deploy when a very lightweight passenger is in the right front passenger seat close to the side airbag.


If you would like a no-obligation consultation with a lawyer for a car wreck in Houston, call us at 281.587-1111!