Broadside Collisions: How Effective Are Side Airbags?

Broadside accidents are one of the deadliest types of car collisions.

airbag-liability-attorneyThe point of impact is at one of the side doors, which offers very little protection to the vehicles occupants. As of 2008, side air bags have become mandatory in new cars just like front air bags. This increase in driver protection has shown an average of 30% reduction in fatalities resulting from a broadside collision. In order to properly protect you, a side air bag should inflate within seconds after impact and stay inflated during the impact to further protect you in the event of a rollover. In the event that you have sustained grave injury from a side impact collision and the airbag did not deploy, contact an experienced attorney. These lifesaving devices are installed to protect you, and if they do not function properly you are being subjected to very serious injury or death.

When Air Bags Are Not Properly Tested

Ford Motor Company was compelled to settle a claim against them in 2010 after a Missouri woman was killed in a single car, broadside collision. Evidence showed that the testing of the side air bags was inadequate. They only checked for deployment when the impact was at the door handle, and only at 90 degrees. They did not account for every angle in an impact or that it may occur away from the door handle. In this case, the impact was at the cars B pillar, the point in the frame directly behind the front seats, causing the driver to suffer from such severe head trauma that she did not survive.

Broadside Collisions Have a Greater Potential to Be Deadly

The necessity of a properly installed side air bag is essential for driver safety when you consider the differences between a head on collision and a broadside collision. When a vehicle is struck at its front, there is several feet of steel and glass to absorb the force of the impact before it reaches the vehicles occupants. In contrast, in a side collision there are only a few inches before contact with the driver or passenger is achieved.

There are different types of side air bags available, designed to protect certain areas of the body. Chest airbags can be installed either on the seat or door of the car. These typically only provide protection to the torso of the body. Head airbags can be a single curtain that protects occupants in the front and back of the vehicle or a tube that is installed just above the side window. A combination of both torso and head side air bag offers the most protection. These are mounted on the side of the seat, starting at the base and moving upwards above the head rest.

St. Louis Product Liability Lawyer

Before buying a new vehicle you should ask the dealer about its safety features, especially side air bags, and ask to see the crash test results. A vehicle equipped with both head and torso protection will give the driver and his passengers the most peace of mind. In the event that you are unfortunately involved in a broadside collision and the side air bags did not offer you the protection promised, bring your case to the attention of a product liability lawyer at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm. To schedule a free and private consultation, call us today at (314) 588-7200 or fill out our Online Contact Form.


photo credit: dno1967b

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