As a new technology, airbags had some issues when first installed in motor vehicles in the 1990s. As a result, traffic analysts attributed a small number of deaths to flaws in the design of frontal airbags.
More recently, deaths and injuries due to airbag design and manufacture have declined. Nonetheless, drivers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere should follow certain guidelines to maximize the ability of airbags to reduce injuries during a car crash.
Understanding the technology
Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides an overview of how airbags work. In a moderate to severe auto crash, electronic signals cause the airbag to inflate with a harmless gas.
This causes a bag filled with air to emerge before the driver or passenger collides with the steering wheel or the dashboard. All of this happens in a millisecond. The combined force of the airbag deployment and the collision might jar the occupants of the vehicle, but it typically reduces the severity of personal injuries and saves lives.
Following best practices
As a supplemental safety feature, airbags do call for some responsibilities from vehicle owners and operators. State Farm Insurance identifies the following best practices to maximize the effectiveness of airbags:
- Always wear seatbelts
- Adhere to guidelines for protecting children
- Keep a safe distance from the steering wheel
- Heed any recalls for airbags
- Replace airbags after deployment
Vehicle operators should only disable airbags for good reason. For example, some elderly people might suffer personal injury due to the force of a frontal airbag deployment.
A faulty airbag could result in injury or death after a car accident. In these cases, legal action might be necessary to gain suitable compensation.