Airbags Save Lives, But Sometimes Cause Injury
March 25th, 2016
Experienced Attorneys Serving Airbag Injury Victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as of 2013, since their introduction, frontal airbags had saved almost 40,000 lives. In fact, evidence suggests that frontal airbags annually reduce driver fatalities by 29 percent and fatalities of front-seat passengers (aged 13 and older) by 30 percent. For drivers with a fastened seat belt, they are even more effective, reducing fatalities in frontal crashes by 52 percent.
Airbags Can Also Cause Injury
Unfortunately, airbags don’t always work perfectly; under some conditions, they can actually cause injury. Because it takes a significant amount of energy to deploy the bag quickly enough, you can be hurt if you are sitting too close to the airbag or are in an unusual position when it deploys. Statistically speaking, short and elderly drivers, who often sit too close to the steering wheel, are particularly at-risk. Children under 13 who are sitting in the front passenger seat are at high risk of injury. For a properly belted driver or adult passenger, the bags should not be problematic. There are still some concerns.
Faulty Airbags Cause Injury
During recent years, there have been a number of equipment recalls associated with defective frontal or side airbags. Problems include:
- Failure to deploy
- Incorrect timing of deployment
- Incorrect level of energy at deployment
- Defective parts
NHTSA maintains a call database regarding recalls. If your vehicle shows up as having an airbag recall, you should have it replaced by your dealer immediately.
Counterfeit Airbags Are Particularly Dangerous
Counterfeit airbags are replacement airbags that were never certified by the vehicle manufacturer. If your airbag has never deployed or if you have had an airbag replaced at an automobile dealership, you need not worry. Vehicles with an unknown maintenance history are suspect, however. Salvaged vehicles are particularly at risk, as are rebuilt or reconstructed vehicles.
Preventing Airbag Injuries
Drivers and passengers can take a number of measures to prevent airbag injuries. They include the following:
- A driver or front-seat passenger should sit upright against the seatback, with feet on the floor.
- Drivers should sit with their chests at least 10 inches from the center of the steering wheel. For shorter drivers, this distance can be maintained by slightly reclining the seatback. Women in the late stages of pregnancy may have particular difficulty maintaining an appropriate distance from the steering wheel.
- Infants, particularly those in rear-facing safety seats, should never be placed in the front passenger seat; this positions the infant’s head too close to the frontal airbag.
- Infants and children under the age of 13 are most safe in the rear seats. Children should always be restrained in their seats.
- If you have an airbag ON-OFF switch, check its position every time you enter your vehicle. A recent survey by the federal government suggests that up to 50 percent of these switches were incorrectly left on for child passengers under the age of 13.
Have You Been Injured by an Improper Airbag Deployment?
If you have been injured due to improper deployment of an airbag, you need experienced, aggressive attorneys to help you prepare your case. The attorneys at Bottaro Law Firm have the resources to investigate the incident and we will actively work to protect your legal rights. We will pursue your case at no cost until we win. Remember that delay can harm your case. For a free consultation, give us a call at 866-529-9700, or complete this convenient online contact form.