Posted by the Charleston, SC Car Accident Attorneys at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Our Charleston auto accident lawyers help those injured in car, truck and motorcycle accidents in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville and across the South Carolina lowcountry.
Seat belts, padded dashboards, collapsible steering columns, improved bumpers and other safety features have become standard in cars and trucks, and those features save lives and prevent injuries in auto accidents. After seat belts, airbags are the vehicle safety feature most effective in preventing auto accident injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that airbags have saved the lives of nearly 28,000 people involved in car accidents since 1998. The NHTSA calculates that using a seat belt and having an airbag in your car reduces the risk of death in car accidents by 61 percent, making the combination the most effective precaution available in preventing auto accident injuries. Driver and front-passenger airbags have been required in cars and trucks by the federal government since the 1998.
In recent years, additional airbags has been added to many cars and trucks. Side-impact airbags first debuted in Volvo cars the mid-1990s. Variations shield the pelvis, chest and head and can deploy from the door, seat or roof of a vehicle during a car accident. Side curtain-type airbags protect the head and, in some models, remain inflated for up to five seconds during auto accidents that cause vehicle rollovers. Side airbags help passengers in rollover-prone sport utility vehicles, and they also protect passengers of smaller cars from larger trucks during auto accidents.
On Sept. 1, 2009, the NHTSA phased in new standards that required side airbags as standard equipment in passenger cars. Side airbags can provide a cushion between bodies and intruding SUVs during auto accidents. General Motors was the first to introduce dual-depth passenger-side airbags. These bags inflate to different girths during car accidents, depending on variables such as seat position, the severity of the car crash and whether the seat belt is clasped or not.
Dual-stage airbags, present on several new Volvo models, work slightly differently in auto accidents. With this technology, a sensor measures the severity of a car wreck and seat-belt usage to adapt airbag inflation speeds; a severe car accident results in a full, rapid deployment, while a fender-bender triggers a slower, 70-percent airbag inflation during the auto accident.