For many years the seat belt has been relied upon for safety in automobiles. Many people debated whether seat belts were safe or not at first but over time most states made wearing seat belts mandatory. Statistics have proven that seat belts have saved lives in accidents everywhere. The safety belt is now mandatory, due to a primary or secondary law, in all states except New Hampshire. With most everyone now agreeing to the benefits of using a seat belt, car makers have stepped up their safety standards to use technology to its advantage and developed air bags.
In the 1980's the first air bag appeared in automobiles. In 1998 all new cars were required to have frontal air bags on both driver and passenger sides. Lighter weight trucks, such as pickups, vans and SUVs, were required in 1999 to have frontal air bags installed.
Studies have proven that the risk of dying in an auto crash has been reduced by nearly 30 percent since the addition of the air bag in vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that air bags have reduced fatal injuries by 11 percent for drivers and 13 percent for adult passengers.
The purpose of an air bag is to help the occupants to either not sustain any injuries or keep the damage to him or her to a minimum. During a moderate to severe car accident, to the front of the car, the frontal air bags are supposed to inflate to prevent the occupants of the car from striking into the interior of the vehicle. The air bags also help absorb forward force that the body that usually incurs in that type of accident.
There are three parts to an air bag that help it accomplish its goal of making people in cars safer. The air bag, the crash sensors and the inflators make up the integral parts of the air bag system in an automobile.
First there is the bag itself. It is made of a thin, nylon material. The frontal bag is then placed in the steering wheel or dashboard. Newer vehicles may also have side panel air bars or seat air bags installed. These extra air bags give the occupants an extra safely advantage by giving them more protection in side-impact crashes.
The second part of an air bag system is the sensors. Vehicles with frontal air bags have a crash sensor located in the front of the vehicle that tells the bag when to inflate. It should send the signal when at least a moderate impact has occurred. Abrupt or panic breaking is not enough to cause the deployment of air bag. The crash sensors should only send the signal to the air bag when a serious crash has occurred.
The third part of the system is the inflators. The bags inflation system ignites a solid propellant, which burns extremely quickly to create a large volume of gas to inflate the bag. This gas is harmless. The inflators react so swiftly that the air bag inflates literally within the blink of an eye.
This air bag system was designed to help our lives. This safety tool has been found to be a great benefit to many people throughout the world by minimizing injuries and fatalities during car crashes. Now just like everything air bags have pros and cons. There have been many incidents in which a person has been slightly injured or burned due to the impact of the bag, but their life was saved. Also it needs to be kept in mind that children under the age of 12 are not to be seated in the front seat since an air bag impact to them could cause serious injuries.
Technology is continuing to grow and experts are now working on air bags that will be linked to sensors that can help tell the air bag what type of person is in the seat. The body mass will be calculated so that air bags can be developed to deal with the different sizes of the occupants. These 'smart sensors' are the future of air bags.
Remember that air bags do not eliminate the need for seat belts being used. Car occupants who chose not to buckle up can be seriously injured or killed if they are too close the air bag as it deploys. Air bags are supposed to be a supplemental safety device not a replacement. The latest NHTSA studies show that vehicle occupants protected by both seat belts and air bags are 50 percent less likely than unrestrained occupants to suffer serious, or even fatal, injuries in a car crash.
In my opinion we never know when it is our time to go but with modern technology this airbag system was created to help us be safer in our daily lives. It is very important you and your family should feel secure at all times in your vehicle despite things that may happen on the roads today.