With the recent news coverage of the Takata airbag recall, which affects thousands of us here in the United States, it has become clear that we are not terribly familiar with the humble airbag. While most of us understand that it inflates in the event of a collision to mitigate injury, there is actually a lot of science behind airbags, which can help us understand what happens in a successful deployment or failure.

The Airbag: Advancing Crash Survivability

Airbags have, when combined with seatbelts, been one of the greatest developments in passenger vehicle safety. Crashes that would never have been considered survivable years ago now see vehicle occupants walking away relatively unscathed.

The science behind airbags is relatively simple, but impressive, nonetheless. It is comprised of three main components:

  • A crash sensor, which triggers the airbag to deploy in the event of a crash that generates enough impact force to warrant it, generally around 10mph,
  • An ignitor, which produces a gas that deploys the airbag, and
  • The airbag itself, which is made of a lightweight material and carefully packed in compartments in the steering wheel and dash.

When an airbag deploys, it takes a fraction of a second to deploy, and will almost instantaneously deflate. The force generated by the airbag itself is quite great, but when vehicle occupants are positioned at a proper distance—as well as wearing their seatbelt, which works in tandem with the airbag—the impact of hitting the airbag is almost certainly far less than the impact an occupant would feel without the airbag’s protection.

When Airbags Malfunction, You May Be Entitled to Compensation

While the Takata airbag recall has made headlines lately, there have been examples of airbag malfunctions quite often, generally involving a problem with either the crash sensor, ignitor, or airbag. When you suffer injury as a direct result of an airbag malfunction, you deserve compensation from those responsible, which could include:

  • The airbag manufacturer
  • Your car’s manufacturer
  • Any technicians who serviced or replaced your car’s airbags

If you have sustained injuries in a New Jersey car accident that are directly related to a malfunctioning airbag, you need an experienced car accident attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call or click on the live chat feature to be connected with my firm now.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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