Airbags Essay

1274 words - 5 pages


Airbags have been known not only for their saving lives but also for taking them. Airbags were an option in the mid 1970s and now airbags are standard in every car. (“Automobile”) Airbags are built into steering columns, dashboards and in newer cars also the side panels, to cushion passengers and drivers in an event of a wreck. Airbags are made from nylon and inflated with sodium oxide and nitrogen. Now that airbags are so common and expensive, thieves are known to steal and sell them.
During the rainstorm, it’s hard to see anything especially when the downpour makes the windshield wipers work constantly. On this cold, dreary February night Tracy was driving her 1996 Ford Explorer with her husband in the passenger seat and her 16-month-old daughter, Alix, in her car seat in the back. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tall, 12 point buck is caught by the vehicles' headlights. Both the buck and Tracy freeze. A second later, a powerful explosion occurs inside the cabin of the car. The airbags deflate nearly as quickly as they inflate. An hour later a car sees the wreck and stops to help. At that point, Tracy had no pulse, her husband is unconscious, and Alix was screaming in the back seat. (Mellon, Webster & Mellon)
At last count, this scenario has happened 135 times. (Strong) How many more times does it have to happen before the automotive industry does something about it? Drivers are not the only victims, though. Small women, children, and the elderly have also been killed as a result of airbags. The time has come to ask ourselves, "Do airbags really work?" First off, most people feel that airbags are a great safety device. They let people walk away from an accident without a scratch, right? They protect everybody, right? People don’t need seatbelts if their car has an airbag, right? Wrong. Airbags cause injuries, airbags kill, and airbags don’t work unless seatbelts are worn. In a rollover accident, people still have a chance of being thrown from the car even if their car has airbags.
When looking at the airbag issue, we must first look at the issue of safety. When the idea of installing airbags was first introduced, it seemed to be a good, life-saving idea. However, airbags have snapped the necks of 135 children and short women. (Strong) Smaller women might survive their accidents if airbags weren’t installed in their vehicles. True, airbags have had some success. Airbags have been credited with saving 3,800 lives since they have been introduced. (Akre) The airbags may be saving some lives. However, in other cases, they are doing more damage than good.
USA Today broke the story on airbag performance. The news report told us that airbags deliver enough non-lethal injuries to the passengers that it offsets their performance on overall injuries. The net result is that airbags have been found to cause injuries in so many accidents that the little good they do is overshadowed by the injuries they cause.
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