Airbags have been around since the early 1980’s as a shield of protection or cushion to guard against forceful impact between a vehicle’s occupant and the surrounding metal car, in the case of a collision or crash.1 The airbag’s purpose is structured around its three part design including: a thin nylon folded bag within the steering wheel or dashboard, an internal sensor that detects collision force and initiates inflation, and an inflation system comprised of a sodium azide and a potassium nitrate compartment that combine and produce a pulse of hot nitrogen gas to inflate the bag as it bursts or expands outward.2 Since the late 1990s airbags have been a mandatory component of all newly manufactured vehicles, because of the benefit an airbag brings to reducing the risk of fatality in a crash by nearly 30 percent, but there is also a concern over the safety of airbags.3
Though auto airbags are a standard safety equipment, the limitations and force behind the airbag system has been the source of concern over the safety and risks associated with passenger vehicle airbags. Research has indicated that there is a risk zone in which deployment of an airbag can actually injure a vehicle’s occupant. Damage to your chest or breastbone can occur when an occupant is within the first 2 to 3 inches post the inflation zone; making the safe zone anywhere beyond 10 inches away from the airbag.4 The other major deployment concern is for small adults, women, elderly, and young children, which statistically will sustain significant injury from use of an airbag, because when the airbag is deployed these two groups cannot withstand the high force of impact and the impact often hits at a higher region of the body such as the head or neck where injury can be more traumatic.5
The other major concern regarding airbags are those with defects in their design or manufacturing. There are many types of airbags, but side impact or side curtain airbags tend to bring additional risks as is evident by the number of recalls. Two of the common airbag defects is the failure to deploy or the premature, unwarranted inflation of an airbag as seen in a low-impact crash. The extent of airbag defects has come to light as of this summer when the Takata company recalled over 30 million cars for a defect that causes the inflation canister to blow up and send metal shrapnel towards occupants within the car.6 This type of defect is just one of the ways in which an airbag designed to protect, can in fact increase the risk for injury or death.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in an auto accident with a defective airbag or an airbag that caused unwarranted injury, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 618-732-4649.
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If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.
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