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Safety Village of South Dakota

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Safety Information

Motor VehiclesMotor Vehicles



Motor Vehicle Safety

According to the Center of Disease Control, Motor Vehicle crashes are the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury affecting over 3 million people in the United States in 2000.

Vehicle Airbag Facts

  • Triggered by Decrease of Speed – Air bags are connected to sensors that detect sudden deceleration that exceeds a minimum threshold. The opening of the airbag occurs very quickly in less than one-twentieth of a second, faster than the blink of an eye.
  • Protects Your Head – Vents in the rear allow the bag to deflate slowly to cushion the head as it moves forward into the deploying air bag.
  • Accident Specific – In low- to moderate-speed collisions, the seat belt alone is usually sufficient to prevent serious injury. In high-speed crashes, the seat belt may not be able to prevent the driver’s head from striking the steering wheel or the passenger’s head from hitting the dashboard. Air bags may deploy in undercarriage impacts and angled collisions, including side impacts, where there is sufficient longitudinal deceleration.
  • After Airbag Deploys – Smoke, some of which is caused by residual combustion products, may be present in the vehicle following the inflation of an air bag. In addition to creating smoke, deployment also releases powder that is in the air bag folds to prevent them from sticking together.

Possible Injuries From Airbags

  • Bruises & Abrasions – Air bags inflate quickly, and with such force, that they can cause bruises and abrasions.
  • Arm Injuries – Sometimes arms are in the way during inflation, that arm injuries, inluding broken arms, may occur.
  • Fatalities – In extreme cases, such as when the head or chest is against the module when it opens, fatal injuries can result. People who sit close to the steering wheel are at higher risk of being injured by a deploying air bag than those who sit further away.
  • Children at Risk – Small children are very vulnerable. Children under the age of 12 should always be seated in the back of the vehicle and should be properly restrained. Never allow a child to sit or stand near the dashboard. In addition, never install a rearward-facing infant restraint system in a seat equipped with an air bag.

To read about traffic safety click here