One of the vital widespread cellphone calls we obtain is from shoppers questioning why their air bag didn’t deploy throughout a crash. This text describes how air bag deployment thresholds are established, the sorts of crashes throughout which air luggage ought to deploy, and crashes the place they could not deploy. It additionally supplies info on a number of totally different defects that could be chargeable for the air bag failing to deploy when it ought to deploy.
Air Bag Deployment Thresholds
Standard air luggage are typically designed to deploy in sure frontal crashes above the thresholds chosen by the producer. Sadly, the buyer typically can’t decide the thresholds for his or her automobile, as they fluctuate broadly between producers, and even fluctuate amongst totally different fashions from the identical producer. Nonetheless, there are some normal tips which are useful for shoppers.
Though there have been some variations, most frontal air luggage from the 1990s have been designed to deploy in crashes above a threshold degree of 14 mph right into a stable concrete barrier. On the similar time, most air bag programs have been additionally designed to by no means deploy in crashes beneath eight mph right into a stable concrete barrier. Between these two speeds, the air luggage could or could not deploy, relying on the specifics of the accident and automobile.
Nonetheless, please observe that these speeds are based mostly on crash assessments right into a stable concrete barrier. Due to this fact, in case your automobile has struck one thing that moved or deformed (like one other automobile, utility pole or guardrail), these thresholds may very well be significantly larger. For instance, a 14 mph barrier take a look at could also be equal to a frontal crash at 28 mph right into a parked automobile. Additionally, these thresholds for air bag deployment have typically elevated for the reason that 1990s, with some now reaching 18 miles per hour, recognizing that air luggage may cause extra accidents than they stop in minor accidents.
In case your crash severity exceeds the automobile firm’s thresholds, and but your air luggage didn’t deploy, chances are you’ll effectively have a defect in your automobile’s air bag system.
Crashes The place the Air Bag Ought to Deploy
Your air luggage ought to deploy in each crash the place they are going to assist stop your accidents. Which means that your air bag ought to deploy in these crashes the place you’ll in any other case undergo accidents of the kind that the air bag is designed to stop: head, neck, and chest accidents. For instance, your frontal air bag ought to deploy in an accident the place your head would in any other case be injured from hitting your steering wheel.
Though frontal air luggage are typically not designed to deploy in facet impacts or rollovers, in some instances they need to deploy in these sorts of crashes. That’s as a result of some facet impacts or rollovers additionally trigger front-to-back deceleration that causes you to maneuver ahead inside your automobile. One instance can be for those who have been driving at freeway pace and have been hit on the facet of your automobile: along with crushing within the facet of the automobile, your automobile would additionally decelerate its ahead movement quickly, which may very well be sufficient to deploy your frontal air luggage. Equally, frontal air luggage ought to typically not deploy in rear impacts; nonetheless, in case you are hit from behind and pushed right into a automobile in entrance of you, that second influence to your automobile’s entrance finish could justify deployment of your air luggage.
For facet influence air luggage, they need to typically deploy on the facet of the automobile experiencing the facet influence. Equally, rollover “curtain” air luggage ought to deploy when the automobile experiences a rollover, to assist stop head and neck accidents and to scale back the chance of being ejected by way of an open or shattered window.
Examples of crashes the place air bag deployment can be anticipated embrace reasonable to extreme crashes involving your entrance bumper or the entrance corners of your automobile, frontal impacts to a utility or phone pole, and under-ride impacts the place the entrance of your automobile goes below the facet or again of a truck.
Crashes The place the Air Bag Ought to Not Deploy
Your air luggage shouldn’t deploy in these accidents the place they won’t stop your accidents. In spite of everything, air luggage can deploy at speeds of greater than 200 mph, and also you shouldn’t be uncovered to these sorts of forces if it will not enable you. Thus, your frontal air luggage shouldn’t deploy in facet impacts, rear impacts and rollovers the place there is no such thing as a vital deceleration from entrance to again.
Different examples of crashes the place your air luggage shouldn’t typically deploy embrace:
o Minor frontal crashes
o Most impacts to the undercarriage of the automobile, corresponding to when crossing a railroad
o Impacts with animals corresponding to deer or canines
o Impacts with road curbs or parking blocks
o Driving on tough roads, together with these with massive potholes, gravel or bumps
In fact, your air luggage ought to by no means deploy when your automobile will not be in an accident. Though this appears apparent, there are literally many instances the place this has occurred, typically as a result of poor design of the air bag system software program, or as a result of electrical points with the air bag system.
Why Your Air Bag Did Not Deploy
There are a number of the explanation why your air bag could not have deployed throughout a crash. The primary motive is that maybe your crash will not be the kind of accident the place air bag deployment can be useful. For frontal air luggage, this consists of many, however not all, facet impacts, rear impacts and rollovers. This class additionally consists of minor accidents through which the driving force and entrance passenger (if there was one) didn’t undergo any vital accidents requiring medical remedy.
The second motive is that there may very well be a defect that prevented the crash sensors from detecting the crash correctly. Our investigation and evaluation of air bag programs in lots of and lots of of crashes has revealed quite a few causes that fall inside this class. In some instances, the air bag deployment threshold is just not set appropriately, typically as a result of insufficient testing. In different instances, a flaw within the software program of the air bag management module has brought on it to disregard the information from one of many crash sensors. In nonetheless different instances, there are just too few sensors to correctly detect real-world crashes; this typically outcomes from overly zealous cost-reduction efforts by automobile corporations which are attempting to enhance their funds. In a couple of instances, high quality management efforts have failed to stop faulty sensors or air bag management modules from reaching the general public.
The third motive is that there may very well be a defect that prevented the deployment sign from reaching the air bag modules and deploying them. Right here, the issue normally lies with parts and wiring between the crash sensors, management module and the air bag modules. Probably the most frequent defect on this class that we see is when the driving force air bag fails to deploy, however the passenger air bag does deploy. In lots of instances, this is because of a faulty clockspring situated within the steering column. Tens of millions of faulty clocksprings have been recalled, typically as a result of poor high quality management at both the provider’s manufacturing plant or the automobile firm’s meeting plant.
One other defect on this class is when the wiring is routed by way of susceptible areas, leading to wires that get minimize early throughout a crash sequence. Though the sensor then detects the crash, the minimize wires stop the sign from reaching the air bag modules.
The fourth motive is that there may very well be a defect that prevented the precise air bag modules from deploying appropriately. In a couple of instances, the crash sensors and air bag management modules have commanded deployment of the air luggage, however the air luggage failed to reply. That is virtually all the time as a result of defects throughout the air bag modules themselves, normally as a result of poor high quality management.
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