• When Should Airbags Deploy or Not Deploy?
  • October 4, 2013 | Author: Jeffrey H. Rasansky
  • Law Firm: Rasansky Law Firm - Dallas Office
  • Ever since the 60s, seat belts were primarily the main factor in car safety. Nowadays, all cars are equipped with airbags that inflate upon impact in order to save lives. In 1998, new cars sold in the U.S. were required to have airbags installed on both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. Consequently, there have also been cases where airbags have malfunctioned.

    When Exactly Should Airbags Deploy or Not Deploy?

    When a motor-vehicle accident occurs, the momentum of the vehicle’s contents continues to move at the same speed the car was going. In turn, airbags are designed to inflate within a fraction of a second after a vehicle accident to slow the speed of passengers before they hit the steering wheel or dashboard. According to Autoinc, there are certain requirements that must be met immediately after a vehicle accident.
    1. Frontal impact must be within a 60-degree window and occur within 30 degrees from the automobile’s center-line.
    2. The vehicle accident forces are equal to hitting an unmoving object at minimum speeds of 10-15 mph.
    Since a vehicle accident happens in a span of approximately one-eighth of a second, the airbags must deploy between 15-20 milliseconds after impact. To provide a protective cushion, airbags inflate at speeds of up to 200 mph within ~30 milliseconds after the car accident. Afterward, the car’s occupants contact the deployed airbag within approximately 45-50 milliseconds after collision.

    Throughout recent years, there have been cases of airbags that didn't inflate or deployed at odd times. On top of that, there are always concerns one should consider with airbags.
    • Airbags can easily injure or kill children 12 years old or younger.
    • Sitting too close to the steering wheel or dashboard can cause injury or death to vehicle occupants.
    • Make a very careful decision before deactivating your vehicle’s airbags.