In the event of a car accident, especially those involving an impact, a car’s airbag is expected to deploy to possibly save or prevent severe injuries to the vehicle’s driver and passengers. However, there are certain situations where airbags may not deploy in a car accident.
Some of the reasons why a car’s airbags would not deploy in the event of a car accident include:
The Severity of the Crash Sustained by the Vehicle
Deployment of a car airbag depends on the severing of the impact of the car accident. This means that a car airbag is not meant to deploy automatically because your vehicle is involved in a crash. This is because on light to moderate impact, a seat belt is sufficient to protect the driver and the passenger, and an airbag deploying might cause more injury to the people in the vehicle. It is essential to know that an airbag may cause serious injuries or even death to a person, given the force of its deployment.
Thus, an airbag is designed to only deploy in moderate to severe impact, which is equivalent to hitting a solid, fixed barrier at 8 to 14 mph or higher. In these situations, the airbag is deployed as the injury from the severity of the impact on the car would cause more harm to the person than by deploying an airbag.
That being said, everybody in the vehicle needs to have their seatbelt securely fastened at all times.
The Type of Collision Sustained by the Vehicle
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the point of the impact on the car would likely determine whether an airbag would deploy, even more than the amount of force of the impact to the vehicle itself. This phenomenon occurs because an airbag sensor would have to be triggered by the impact in order to deploy the airbag. Specifically, if the moderate to severe impact was sustained in the front area of the vehicle, then the airbag sensor would deploy the frontal airbags. However, the front sensor is not likely to be triggered, so the frontal airbags would not be deployed in the event that the impact was sustained on the side or rear area of the car or if the vehicle rolled over.
However, some vehicles are equipped with side airbags, which have corresponding sensors that would trigger a side airbag deployment in the event of a moderate to severe impact on the vehicle’s side area.
The Vehicle is Equipped with Automatic Shut-Off Sensors
Another reason why airbags won’t deploy is if a vehicle is equipped with advantaged frontal and/or side airbag systems that automatically detect if a person is seated or not. An issue with this type of technology is that the sensor would mistakenly determine that a person is not sitting in the driver’s passenger seat if that person is small in stature or a child. This is gravely dangerous since the sensor would not be triggered to deploy an airbag even in a moderate to severe impact since the car assumes that there is no person in that particular seat.
Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that passengers, especially children, are seated in the appropriate area of the car as mandated by law. This means that children should be restrained and sit in their car seats or booster seats suited to their size and weight and in the appropriate position in the vehicle.
Your Car Has Defective Components or Installation
As with any product, defects can occur in vehicles and their components. Defects can occur in numerous ways, including, but not limited to, the installation of the components, the design of the parts, or the manufacturing of the elements themselves. An airbag’s failure to deploy in a moderate to severe impact is not limited to any defects in the airbag or the sensors. Other electronic components of the vehicle can also affect the deployment of the airbag.
Thus, it is crucial to keep yourself aware of any manufacturer recall pertaining to your vehicle or its parts.
The Car is Not Equipped with a Working Airbag
Another possibility that an airbag would not be deployed in a car accident is if the vehicle is not equipped with an airbag or has an airbag but is either defective or nonfunctional.
As noted above, an airbag itself can be defective. However, an airbag is nonfunctional if it has been previously deployed. Generally, airbags cannot be reused, so a new airbag must be installed on the vehicle to deploy in the unfortunate event of a moderate to severe impact if it has previously been deployed in another accident.
Given the life-saving benefit of being in a vehicle equipped with an airbag in the event of an accident, it is imperative to make sure that your car is equipped with an active airbag,
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