Categorized | Opinion

The Good, Bad & the Ugly

By David PeelDavid Peel

The car ahead of you brakes suddenly… it is too late to swerve or stop. Upon the sickening crunch of impact, just 0.05 seconds later, you feel a force hit your face that is somewhere between a Chuck Liddell punch and a Derek Jeter homerun swing.
While violent in their inflations, airbags do save lives, especially when used with seatbelts.  As an injury lawyer, I see the photos of the deployed airbags all the time. However, a reminder, frontal airbags do NOT deploy when you are simply rear-ended or side-swiped.
Airbags reply on sensors to decide whether to slap you around. (It’s for your own good, remember.)  Airbag deployment must be like the proper bed in the Goldilocks fairy tale, not “too hard,” and not “too soft,” but just right.
If you strike a deer, for instance, and Bambi’s impact makes the airbag deploy, it can knock your hands off the wheel and cause you to careen into the forest, maiming all kinds of woodland creatures.  Therefore, an airbag would normally not be set off by a deer or low speed impact.  It takes a sudden loss of speed that increases G Force sufficiently to set them off.
On the other hand, if the airbag comes out too slowly, or even a smidge too late, and it does nothing, but makes a nice tarp to catch your face. Thus, they are deployed by what is essentially, a shotgun shell.
Weight of occupants is also a factor.  As it appears that some drivers have only driven from one drive through lane to another for seven years, and as such, they need a bit more force to stop them. Others, as we say in the country, “ain’t big as a minute,” and need much less force, as with children.
Thus, there are now “advanced airbags” that reduce the deployment if the front-seat passenger is small or in a child safety seat.
Advanced airbags compliant with government crash performance standards have been required in all passenger vehicles since model year 2007.
There are now side airbags and even some rollover airbags.
They help, but they do not replace wearing your seatbelt. And nothing prevents accidents like common sense. It’s just not all that common anymore.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.
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July 2014
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