Airbag technology has prevented a significant number of injuries and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 45,000 lives were saved by airbags from 1987 to 2015. As such, they are one of the most important safety features in vehicles today. When airbags fail to deploy during a crash; however, the vehicle’s occupants have nothing to protect them from serious impacts with the steering wheel, windows, or other parts of the car.
It’s important to understand how your vehicle’s safety features are supposed to work, which is why we’ll be going over airbags and their deployment. In the event they do not work as promised, you may have grounds to file an airbag failure to deploy lawsuit.
When Do Airbags Deploy?
Airbags are considered supplemental protection and are designed to work best when seatbelts are also used. When a car is traveling, the occupants and everything inside is traveling at the same speed. When a collision takes place, the vehicle stops but the occupants and objects do not. The airbags and seatbelts are supposed to stop passengers from flying forward, through the windshield.
The collision sensors at the front of the airbags are designed to deploy where a sudden and severe deceleration happens. Deployment is generally supposed to occur in a moderate to severe crash – which is the equivalent of striking a solid, fixed barrier at eight to 14 miles per hour or higher.
While airbag deployment saves lives, it can cause preventable injuries. Take the following into consideration when you’re in a vehicle:
- Avoid placing your arms across the steering wheel.
- Have the steering wheel tilted downward, not towards your face or neck.
- Have the driver and upfront passenger seated as far away from the front of the vehicle as
- Make sure passengers do not put their feet or any objects on the dashboard.
- Restrain children under the age of 13 in the back seat.
Why An Airbag May Not Deploy
There are a number of reasons why an airbag may not deploy during an accident. While the reason may have to do with the accident itself, product failures are also a possibility. If your airbag didn’t deploy during your crash and you suffered as a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
The type of accident does play a role in whether or not an airbag will deploy. Depending on where the impact takes place, the airbag sensors may not be triggered. For example, frontal airbags may not deploy in the event of a side impact crash or a rollover accident. The force of impact also plays a role. Wrecks that take place in locations like parking lots may not happen at fast enough speeds for the airbags to deploy. Since they’re set to deploy at certain speeds, an accident that occurs at very low speeds may not cause them to deploy at all.
Airbags are not meant to deploy in the following situations:
- Accidents that lack major deceleration from front to rear
- A minor collision on the front of the vehicle
- Accidents involving striking small animals like deer or dogs
- Roads with bumps or potholes
- An accident where a vehicle hits a curb, parking block, or sign
When an airbag is meant to deploy and does not, it might be because of the following issues:
- Airbag Sensor Defects. If the impact should have triggered the airbags but they did not deploy, it’s possible the sensors failed to detect the crash. This could be the result of a faulty design, manufacturing errors like improper testing, or failures in the software or calibration. Some vehicles may be lacking the right amount of sensors because of manufacturers who value profit over safety.
- Defective Electrical Components. In the event that during a crash one or several airbags deploy but others don’t, that is typically indicative of an electrical component failure. If the parts are poorly designed or installed improperly, this may result in your airbags not deploying correctly.
- Airbag Module Defects. When the airbag module is defective, it may not fire when it’s supposed to. Manufacturing errors, improper quality control, and inherent design issues could all be at fault.
- Severed Wiring. Depending on the severity of the collision and the location of the routed wires controlling the airbag system, the wires could potentially be severed upon impact, rendering the airbags useless.
If your airbags didn’t deploy in an accident and your injuries were made more severe as a result, our airbag injury lawyers are prepared to investigate your claims and provide you with the legal representation you deserve. Get in touch with our firm today to learn about your legal options and how best to proceed.