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The NHTSA Recommends Airbag On/Off Switches in Some Vehicles

Airbags are designed to deploy before the driver or passenger's face hits them or they can be deadly in certain situations

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - Airbags used in combination with seatbelts and shoulder restraints are considered one of the most effective automotive safety inovations of all time and have saved tens of thousands of lives. In 2016 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded over 2700 American lives saved by the deployment of airbags in motor vehicles.

Airbags, driver, passenger, and side, deploy in 1/20 of a second designed to full deploy providing a pillow for the driver or passenger's face and head to contact rather than sharp metal or glass. That same speed of deployment, however, can in and of itself cause injuries or death if the driver or passengers are sitting too close. Takata airbag attorneys representing families and persons harmed by a Takata airbag.

The number of lives airbags save every year far exceeds the total of 25 or so deaths or the approximately 300 injuries that drivers have sustained by the malfunctioning Takata/over the 5 years that such airbag fatality statistics have been being kept. Airbags that are not used in close conjunction with seatbelts can cause a properly functioning airbags to kill the driver or passengers sitting too close. People are killed by regular airbags every year when they are struck in the face by airbag itself when it deploys. Normal airbag deployment is particularly deadly to children that are riding improperly or not properly secured by a child restraint system. As a matter of fact, laws requireing children of various ages to ride in the backseat or face backward are not so much to prevent the child from being injured in the event of a crash as they are to prevent the child from being killed by the airbag itself.

In order to minimize the injuries or fatalities of being struck by a properly functioning airbag, the NHTSA has recommended automobile manufacturers install an airbag "ON/Off" switch. The NHTSA has outline several specific circumstances where it is advisable to turn the airbag off to lessen the likelihood of severe injury. The first situation where an airbag on/off switch is recommended is in vehicles with very small or non-existant back seats. If the rear seat is too small for a small child restraint seat and must sit in the front seat it is recommended that the airbag be turned off. The small child will be sitting too far forward and too close to the airbag deployment system and would be hit in the face by the exploding airbag itself. A second situation where it is preferable to turn off a passenger side airbag would be if the undder-13 year old child is forced to ride in the front seat because of a medical condition. Also, adults with certain medical conditions forced to ride in the front seat would be safer if their airbags would be turned off. Finally, drivers over a certain age or under a certain height that are forced to sit too close to the steering column in order to see and drive would be better off by disabling the deployment of their airbag.

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OnderLaw, LLC is a St. Louis personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. The Onder Law Firm has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others. The Onder Law Firm won $197 million in three talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in St. Louis in 2016 and other law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.