Without a doubt, airbags are a great invention. They have saved countless lives since federal legislation mandated their use in 1998. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that frontal airbags saved 50,457 lives between 1987-2017. The fact that airbags increase safety is not debated, but risks are involved with every innovation, and airbags do not escape this worry.
Airbags as a Safety Device
Airbags are designed to work hand-in-hand with safety belts. They add another layer of protection against car crashes by deploying when the automobile is struck. The airbag acts like a pillow, cushioning the passenger from the dashboard. Side airbags protect the head from a side impact and can also protect passengers in rollover crashes.
Dangers Posed by Airbags
Airbags work by receiving a signal from a built-in electronic unit housed in the vehicle. An igniter inside the airbag then sets off a chemical reaction and inflates the airbag. This is a rapid process, and the airbag is deployed in less than a second. The chemicals released from the reaction can cause respiratory distress to those with weakened lung function, and can lead to a condition called chemical pneumonitis. While rare, this condition can cause lung injury and infection. Other airbag injuries include:
- Burns to the areas that come into contact with the airbag
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ lacerations
- Rib, skull and arm fractures
- Eye injuries
- Rupturing of the heart muscle
- Fetal injury
Airbag Injury Protection
To protect yourself from airbag injuries, the following steps are recommended:
- Refrain from sitting close to the steering wheel
- Place children under 12 in the backseat
- Replace airbags after a crash
- Do not ride with feet propped on the dashboard
- Have a recalled airbag replaced as soon as possible
Airbags save lives and are an important safety feature in modern cars, but sometimes injury occurs. If you have been injured by an airbag and would like to discuss your options, the Taylor Anderson Law Firm can help. Call us at (843) 277-1176 or fill out a contact form today.
Posted on behalf of Taylor Anderson Law Firm