The Future of Airbags

airbags deployed after accident

It would be 60 years after the release of the Ford 1908 Model T before airbags resembling what we know today would be considered a realistic safety feature. Modern airbags haven’t been around very long; in fact, they have only been mandatory features since September 1, 1998. Yet, according to the NHTSA, airbags have saved nearly 45,000 lives between 1987 and 2015, and are on their way to saving many more in the years to come.

Auto manufacturers that wish to remain competitive in the United States must continue improving upon their standard safety features. These days, cars in all price ranges are the safest they’ve ever been due to competition and rigorous testing. Safety features like airbags have made a considerable impact in reducing the total number of car accident fatalities that take place each year. Like all safety features in cars, airbag innovations stand to continue improving on this life-saving device.

How do airbags protect drivers?

Passive safety features like airbags require no human input to function. Airbags provide protection to drivers and other vehicle occupants in situations where seatbelts fall short. They deploy in moderate to severe impacts to protect the head, neck, and chest. In a rear-end crash, the head and body fling forward and backward in a violent motion. While the seatbelt will hold the upper body back, the head and neck can continue moving forward. When the frontal airbag deploys, it works as a soft barrier between the upper body and the steering wheel and dashboard.

Today, airbags are secretly hidden throughout a vehicle’s interior. While all new vehicles must come equipped with front air bags, most also have built-in side air bags. Side airbags include curtain and torso airbags which protect greater regions of the body upon a side impact. Vehicle manufacturers began installing curtain airbags in the late 1990s and they were the first to be mounted inside the car doors.

What’s next for airbags?

It doesn’t take long for innovative safety features to become standard in the automotive world. Vehicles today are teeming with airbags. Take apart any car built within the last five years and you will soon find airbags on nearly all sides. Many cars come standard with:

Some manufacturers are also touting rear-seat airbags. Soon, we may find airbags where we least expect them.

Knee Airbags

Companies like Ford Motor Co. introduced a design for a passenger knee airbag on the 2015 Ford Mustang. The knee airbag is a small airbag designed to minimize injuries to the lower extremities as they make collide with the dashboard. Cars with knee airbags hide them under the steering column on the driver side and under the glovebox on the passenger side. The federal government’s new car testing program is encouraging more automakers to feature knee airbags in their designs.

Front Center Airbags

General Motors introduced a front center airbag on the 2013 Buick Enclave and two other vehicles. The airbag deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat and opens up between both front seats. The airbag is designed to absorb energy between drivers and passengers in driver- and passenger-side crashes, and can add extra protection for the driver when he is alone. The airbag can also reduce injuries in rollover accidents.

Inflatable Seatbelts

Inflatable seatbelts took off in the 2011 Ford Explorer. These are somewhat of a cross between airbags and seatbelts. Ford Motor Co.  stated the company designed these seatbelts to protect backseat passengers like children from sustaining severe head, neck, and chest injuries. Other Ford vehicles like the Flex and Lincoln models also feature these seatbelts.

When Airbags Aren’t Enough Contact an Orlando Car Crash Lawyer

Airbags do not eliminate the possibility of suffering serious or catastrophic injuries in a moderate to severe car crash. In fact, airbags have been known to cause injuries of their own. In rare cases, airbags have caused fatalities. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, it’s important to hire a professional who can evaluate all the details of the accident and hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.

At The Umansky Law Firm, our accident lawyers have decades of combined experience representing people who were hurt in car crashes throughout Orlando. We strive to provide the most thorough and competent representation in personal injury cases so our clients can recover the compensation they need to move on with their lives. A car accident in Orlando can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills when you are the least prepared to take on such a drastic expense. Let us pursue your accident claim while you focus on your physical well-being.

Contact our law firm by calling 407-228-3838 or completing our contact form.