The Benefits And Risks Of Airbags

1112 words - 4 pages

The Benefits and Risks of Airbags

In 1966, President Johnson signed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety act. This act required the government to come up with new safety standards for motor vehicles. Four years or so later, in the 1970s, General Motors and Ford placed new airbags in small fleet cars (Moore). The concept of this new device was to totally inflate stopping the rapid forward motion of a person not wearing a seat belt before they would hit the dashboard or be thrown from a car during a crash. The airbags soon proved to be helpful, but in some cases they were still very dangerous (The Truth). Airbags, to me, are an important part of car safety; they saved my relatives lives. But, complications still arise from the force of an airbag deploying when a car is hit at a low speed. And the fact that some motor companies only test airbags on large dummies resembling males is upsetting because not everyone is the same size. The companies also waited five months before acknowledging that there were safety problems with the airbags.
Even if airbags do save lives, there are still some injuries and even some fatalities linked to an exploding airbag. Around 51 people have been killed from an airbag since 1990 and 30 of then have been children. Contrary to popular belief, the airbag is not a cushioning pillow that gently breaks your fall during a car crash. Designed to propel out at speeds of up to 200 mph the air bag is designed to stop and violent thrashing forward of a body during a collision (Doherty). The sensors located in the front of a car determine weather the airbag is needed in cars with in milliseconds of the crash occurring. However these sensors are often too sensitive and this causes and airbag to sometimes deploy when it is not really needed. Therefor injuring a passenger (The Truth). Most injuries and death from airbags are a result of not wearing a seat belt or having small infants or children in the front seat (Safety). Air bags that are positioned towards the head or neck area can snap or stain the neck and head. Young children in the front seat have been thrown in the back seat due to airbag inflation. (The Truth). With all of these problems and negative effects of an airbag deploying, a person would think why are they even there if they are causing more of a risk than saving lives. Today, new airbags are being designed that are safer and if used properly the older airbags can be completely safe to most people.
If all safety laws are observed and the airbags are positioned correctly, then an airbag is not dangerous at all. A seatbelt must be worn. Not only does it hold you in the correct position during a crash, it helps with sliding in turns and holding you in place during a sudden movement. It is also a law. If an airbag is aimed toward the chest area of a person then all force is applied to a strong bone structure, the ribs. And to protect children, if a child is under the age of 12 they should be placed...

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