Most motorists understand that airbags in vehicles are there to protect the driver and passengers from striking interior objects, such as the windshield, in the event of a truck, SUV, or automobile crash. However, though airbags are excellent safety devices, contact with an airbag can cause injuries to the occupants of the vehicle. In order to be effective, airbags inflate very rapidly and may come out of the steering wheel hub or instrument panel at a speed that may exceed 100 mph. Injuries that result from contact with an airbag are usually minor and can include abrasions or burns, and serious injuries can be rare. However, serious or potentially fatal injuries can occur when someone is very close to, or in direct contact with, an airbag module when the airbag deploys.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle occupant may be seriously injured or killed by a deploying airbag if he or she is unrestrained or improperly restrained. The NHTSA suggests the following tips to prevent a potentially dangerous airbag injury:
- Drivers should sit with at least 10 inches between the center of their breastbone and the center of the steering wheel.
- Young children ages 12 and under should always ride in a rear seat, properly restrained.
- Never put a rear-facing infant restraint in the front seat of a vehicle that has a front passenger air bag, as it puts the infant’s head close to the airbag module, which can cause serious head injuries or death if the airbag deploys.
Drivers of all different motor vehicles depend on safety features, such as airbags, to help protect them in the event of a crash. However, when an airbag malfunctions, such as not inflating in the event of a collision or deploying when it shouldn’t, serious injuries can be inflicted on the vehicle’s occupants. A knowledgeable Kentucky airbag injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your injuries if injured by a malfunctioning airbag and hold any negligent parties legally accountable.