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Airbag Failure

Lakeland Product Liability Attorneys | Winter Haven FL Defective Products Lawyer

When do airbags deploy?

Airbags are designed to deploy in frontal and near-frontal collisions, which is comparable to hitting a solid barrier at approximately 8 to 14 miles per hour. A 14 mile per hour barrier collision is equivalent to striking a parked car of similar size across the full front of each vehicle at about 28 miles per hour. The parked car absorbs some of the crash energy and is pushed by the striking vehicle. Unlike crash tests into barriers, real-world crashes typically occur at angles, and the crash forces usually are not evenly distributed across the front of the vehicle. Since air bag sensors measure deceleration, vehicle speed and damage aren’t adequate indicators of whether or not an air bag should have deployed. Sometimes air bags may deploy due to the vehicle’s undercarriage violently striking a low object protruding above the roadway surface. Despite the lack of visible front-end damage, high deceleration forces may occur in this type of crash, resulting in the deployment of the air bag.

How does the airbag inflate?

When there is a moderate to severe frontal crash that requires the frontal air bag to deploy, a signal is sent to the inflator unit within the air bag module. An igniter starts a reaction, which produces a gas to fill the airbag, making the airbag deploy through the module cover. Some air bag technologies use nitrogen gas to fill the air bag while others use argon gas. The entire deployment and inflation process happens in only about 1/20th of a second, faster than the blink of an eye. Because a vehicle changes speed so fast in a crash, air bags must inflate rapidly if they are to help reduce the risk of the occupant hitting the vehicle’s interior.

What happens after deployment?

Once an air bag deploys, deflation begins immediately as the gas escapes through vents in the fabric. Deployment is frequently accompanied by the release of dust-like particles in the vehicle’s interior. Most of this dust consists of cornstarch or talcum powder used to lubricate the air bag during deployment. Small amounts of sodium hydroxide may initially be present which may cause minor irritation to the eyes and/or open wounds. With exposure to air, sodium hydroxide quickly turns into sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Depending on the type of air bag system, potassium chloride (a table salt substitute) may also be present.

Can I use the airbag more than once?

No. After the airbag deploys and inflates and deflates; it’s useless. You have to take the car in for service to get another airbag module installed.

Can inside positioning cause airbag problems?

Yes. Drivers and passengers can be seriously injured or killed if they are not properly restrained. Drivers should sit at least 10-inches between the center of their breast bone and the center of the steering wheel.


Are airbags safe for children?

Yes and no; children 12 and under should always ride restrained in the rear seat. Do not put a rear-facing infant restraint in the front seat of a vehicle with a front passenger airbag because it put the infant’s head close to the airbag module which most likely will cause severe injuries or death if the airbag deploys.

How do I file a complaint against airbags or seatbelts?

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The experienced Lakeland personal injury attorneys at Allen & Abaray, P.A. aggressively pursue accident injury cases throughout the state of Florida. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, truck accident, slip and fall accident, or have suffered any type of injury because of someone else's negligence, call 1-863-669-9999 today for a free consultation.

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5835 U.S. Highway 98 South   Lakeland, Florida 33812   Toll Free: 877-669-6899   Ph: (863) 669-9999   Fax: (863) 669-0699