Since model year 1998, all new cars sold in the United States have been required to have airbags on both driver and passenger sides. Soon after came seat-mounted and door-mounted side airbags, and today some cars go far beyond, having six, eight, or even ten airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics showed that airbags deployed in auto accidents saved more than 2,500 lives last year and reduced the risk of dying in a direct frontal crash by about 30 percent. Due to criticism and safety issues in the past, auto makers are now developing smarter airbag systems that can adjust deployment force and speed to different crash situations. Other systems can adjust deployment based on passenger size, seating position and speed at impact. If a fault is detected, the air bag system is usually deactivated and a warning light notifies the driver of a problem.
One thing all airbags have in common is crash sensors. By design, an airbag should only deploy in a frontal collision that is severe enough to trigger the control electronics or firing pin. They should not deploy in rollovers or rear collisions, although that sometimes occurs. A lot can happen during an accident to trick airbag sensors into thinking a frontal collision is occurring, when in fact, it really is not. The crash sensor is supposed to react to sudden deceleration resulting from a frontal impact to inflate the airbags. If the airbag deploys in other circumstances, it can actually cause significant injury to a vehicle occupant.
The air bag control module is designed to deploy restraint system components when the crash sensor reacts. It can retain “crash data” as “events” in an “event data recorder” and self-checks the sensing system every time the engine is started. By using a Crash Data Retrieval System (CDR) after an accident in which airbags were deployed, data can be retrieved from late model cars, light trucks, commercial trucks and SUVs to further analyze and investigate the accident. In conjunction with a complete crash analysis, information such as engine speed, vehicle speed, braking status, throttle percentage and seatbelt usage can be examined to paint a more complete picture of the accident. Obtaining an attorney who employs a crash investigator early in the process can increase the likelihood of a successful CDR download to retrieve this information.
If you or your loved one has been injured by an airbag that deployed during a car accident, please contact the experienced auto accident lawyers of Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, P.A. We serve the Jacksonville, Florida area.
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