Airbags are designed to keep you safe in the event of a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates thousands of lives are saved each year due to airbags. But while they are hailed as one of the most important advances in driver and passenger safety over the past two decades, airbags can still present risks to passengers. While manufacturers have spent seemingly countless hours and millions of dollars to improve airbag safety, accidents still happen each year that injure or kill car accident victims.
As experienced personal injury lawyers know, airbags continue to be a controversial safety device for a number of reasons. Despite technological advances designed to make airbags safer, car makers issue warnings and recalls because of airbag component failures and defects every year. When an airbag system fails to function properly – such as not deploying in an accident or severely injuring a passenger after falsely deploying in a low-impact collision – the consequences can be fatal.
Airbag safety tips for adults and children
Like other vehicle safety devices, airbags are designed to work properly in conjunction with safe riding habits followed by drivers and passengers alike. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recommends taking the following precautions:
- Keep children in the back seat. Airbag systems are not designed for children, period. The deployment of an airbag can be fatal to an infant in a backward or forward-facing child car seat, an older child using only the waist-belt, or children below the weight limit for the front seat or without a booster seat. Even when a car is equipped with side-impact airbags, the DMV indicates children remain safest in the back seat.
- Wear your seatbelt. The safety and success of airbag systems relies heavily upon the proper usage of seatbelts among vehicle occupants. All riders should be sitting upright with both feet on the ground, with both the lap belt and shoulder belt firmly in place. Because airbags deploy at up to 200 mph, the use of seat belts can be the difference of life and death in an accident.
- Maintain a safe distance from the steering wheel, dashboard. Airbags need room to safely deploy. Safety experts recommend drivers to move their seat back as far as possible while maintaining access to the gas and brake pedals, steering wheel and other controls. Passengers should also give airbags as much space as possible without disrupting passengers traveling in the back seat.
What should I do if I’ve been injured by an airbag?
Even when following all necessary safety procedures, airbag safety defects can happen for a number of reasons. They range from wiring issues, to poor design (such as improper sensor placement or deployment threshold) to inadequate consumer warnings about safety defects. Manufacturers have a moral and legal obligation to properly test all products before introducing them to the market. When they fail to do so, they can be held accountable for their actions – or lack thereof. People often see results by retaining an experienced Denver attorney, like Bell & Pollock, who can help pursue compensation from the manufacturer. Contact Bell & Pollock today.