Reasons Your Airbag May Not Deploy

Advancement in automotive technology has made driving more enjoyable and safe. Lane departure, backup cameras, automatic braking systems, and tire pressure monitoring systems – all these innovations have helped prevent accidents and save lives. However, although seat belts are still the most effective safety devices, they may not prevent the driver’s head from striking the steering column in high-speed crashes.

According to the NHTSA, airbag technology helped save more than 50,000 lives between 1987 and 2017. This makes them an important safety feature in any modern vehicle. However, sometimes airbags may fail to deploy during a car crash, which leaves the occupants with nothing to protect them from impacts with the windows, steering wheel, and other parts of the car. 

In case an airbag doesn’t deploy when it should, and you get injured, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.  

When Should Airbags Deploy?

Airbags are designed to provide the driver and other vehicle occupants with added protection to seatbelts. As such, they work best when the seatbelts are also used. The airbag’s collision sensors are designed to deploy if there is sudden or severe deceleration. It’s important to note that, while airbags are meant to save lives, they can sometimes cause preventable injuries. To avoid this, use the following tips when in your vehicle:

  • Tilt the steering wheel downwards, facing your chest and not towards your neck or face.
  • Don’t place your arms across the steering wheel.
  • Passengers shouldn’t place objects or even their feet on the dashboard.
  • You and the upfront passenger should always be seated as far away from the dashboard as possible.
  • Young children under the age of 13 should be restrained in the back seat.

Reasons Why Your Airbag May Fail to Deploy

Airbags are not designed to deploy in just any accident. Instead, they will only deploy during some types of accidents, like head-on crashes, when the vehicle moves above the set speed limit. Airbags won’t deploy in any of the following situations:

  • Minor frontal crashes
  • Hitting a parking block, sign, or curb
  • Rollover, T-bone, or rear-end crashes where there is no sudden deceleration
  • Minor accidents with small animals like dogs or deer
  • Driving on roads with potholes or bumps

While airbags should not deploy in all accidents, sometimes they may not deploy when they should. When an airbag fails to deploy when it should, you should report the incident to the NHTSA Office for defects investigation.  Airbags may fail to deploy when they are meant to due to the following reasons:

Faulty airbag sensors

If you’re involved in a head-on collision, the airbag may fail to deploy if the sensors don’t detect the crash. The crash sensors detect a sudden impact and send the signal to the airbag to deploy. However, if the sensors are defective, they may not communicate with the airbag to deploy. The reason could be a faulty design, software flaws, manufacturer errors like inadequate testing, or even lack of enough sensors.

However, you should remember that airbag sensors have to register a certain impact and at a certain angle for them to tell the airbags to deploy. Depending on your unique circumstances, you can file an airbag failure to deploy case in Florida and prove that the airbags should have deployed. The seller or manufacturer of junk filled or fake airbags can be punished under the Florida Statutes sections 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084.

Defective computer controls and electrical components

A car crash triggers the collision sensor, and the sensor sends an electric signal to the airbag commanding it to deploy. Therefore, if there is a defective electrical component, the command may not reach the airbag. Some automakers route the wiring through tight spaces where they can easily get damaged. The damaged airbag wiring prevents the transmission of the command from the crash sensor to the airbag.

Automatic shut-off sensors

Modern vehicles come with advanced frontal airbag systems. Some of them will automatically shut off the passenger airbag if the vehicle detects that the passenger seat is unoccupied or the person is of small-stature, like a child.

Faulty airbag modules

Sometimes, the collision could trigger the crash sensor and send a signal to the airbag module, but the module malfunctions before deployment. According to The New York Times, this often happens as a result of poor quality control or defectively designed airbag modules.

Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney if You’ve Been Injured by a Faulty Airbag

Have you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a defective airbag in Florida? You can file a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer and receive compensation for damages. At Fetterman & Associates, PA, we know how complex and difficult it is to prove why an airbag failed to deploy. Still, our experienced Florida personal injury lawyers understand the necessary strategies to protect your rights and maximize your chances of settling. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.


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