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Airbag Safety

In the last few years people in the United States have been hearing a lot about airbags. A few years ago some news sources said that airbags were safe only for a small percentage of the population. Other news sources said that airbags were safe for a large percent of the population and that they should be required in all new vehicles sold in this country. In 1997, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it would allow some car-drivers to “disconnect” their airbags as long as they meet the certain criteria to buy the shutoff switch (air bag 1). This decision caused a lot of controversy between the car dealers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (car dealers 1,2). The American people, caught in the middle of this, didn’t know what to do. However; through extensive research anyone can find the correct answer to the airbag deactivation switch question: Airbags are a useful and safe means of protecting people in head-on collisions as long as they are used carefully and properly.

Airbags have many strong facts supporting their existence in the modern car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that, “Airbags… are a huge public health success. They’ve saved thousands of lives in serious crashes.” (Status Report 2). In face as of September 9, 1998 a total of 2,954 drivers have been saved because of airbags (Safety Fact Sheet 1). Add that to the number of passengers that have been saved because of airbags, 494, and a pretty amazing number comes up (1). A total of 3,448 lives have been saved because of airbags up to September 8, 1998 (1).

Airbags, paired with seat belts, can not only save lives in an automobile wreck, but they can greatly reduce the risk of receiving an injury. If the driver of a car is properly wearing their seat belt and the car is equipped with airbags; the driver would have a 75% chance of not receiving a serious head injury (Safety Face Sheet 1). The driver would also have a 66% chance of not receiving serious chest injuries in a car accident (1). Also, having an airbag equipped car reduces the drivers chance of receiving a fatal injury. For a car driver there is a 31% fatality reduction rate if the driver has an airbag in a frontal crash (Safety Face Sheet 2). If there is a front seat passenger in the car of the driver has alight truck, they have a 27% chance of not receiving a fatal injury in a crash (2). As Jason Vines, a spokesman for Chrysler, said, “The point is that air bags save lives when used properly…” (Brown 2).

As of November 1998 3.2 million drivers side airbags have inflated (Safety Fact Sheet 1). Out of those 3.2 million airbag inflations only 113 people have died (as of September 1, 1998) (Safety Face Sheet 2). That means that only one out of every 28,318.5 airbag inflations will prove to be fatal (2). With great odds like that why would anyone want to deactivate their airbag?

The Washington Post says that, “According to all available responsible sources air bags save many more lives than they cost, including the lives of short adults” (Brown 3). This quote goes further to show that airbags are for every healthy adult. Even pregnant adults shouldn’t disconnect their airbags (Strong 2). Although; pregnant women should put the seat belt below the fetus and stay back as far away as possible from the airbag (2). The only people who shouldn’t use airbags are our children. Anyone under the age of 12 should sit in the back seat, away from the airbag. Facts prove that airbags have been made for healthy adults to use.

It has been proven that airbags save people from death and potential injuries. Sources show that the airbag is nothing to be afraid of. The truth tell us all that all adults are much safer with airbags. Just as Jason Vines said, “If you know that a child can be protected by being properly place din the rear seat, why in the world would you want to rob an adult, front-seat passenger of protection by deactivating the air bag? We think that’s a bad idea” (Brown 3).