- Airbags provide crucial cushioning for people during a crash. They’re normally hidden but inflate instantly when a crash begins.
- Front airbags have been required in all new passenger vehicles since the 1999 model year.
- Side airbags aren’t specifically mandated, but nearly all manufacturers include them as standard equipment in order to meet federal side protection requirements.
Both front and side airbags save lives.
- Front airbags reduce driver fatalities in frontal crashes by 29 percent and fatalities of front-seat passengers age 13 and older by 32 percent (Kahane, 2015).
- Side airbags that protect the head reduce a car driver’s risk of death in driver-side crashes by 37 percent and an SUV driver’s risk by 52 percent (McCartt & Kyrychenko, 2007).
Engineers keep finding new ways to use airbags.
- Rear-window curtain airbags are designed to protect people in back seats in rear-end crashes.
- Front-center airbags keep drivers and front-seat passengers from hitting each other in a crash.
- Inflatable safety belts are aimed at reducing rear-seat chest injuries.
Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Airbags.” iihs.org website. Accessed February 12, 2020. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/airbags/topicoverview
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