More information on the danger of air bags
The force of the airbag is intended to hit an average man in the chest, but shorter people are hit in the face. And shorter drivers also are too close to the airbag.
On the passenger side, the passenger airbag is much larger. This impact is especially dangerous for those shorter than 5'4", children, the elderly and those with Osteoporosis, heart surgery or other medical conditions.
Who should consider an airbag switch?
Until real "Advanced" airbags are developed, we believe that anyone should be free to choose whether to have an airbag switch. In fact, fleet vehicles or rental vehicles should offer a key to an airbag switch.
Recently published research indicates that a vehicle must be going more than 62.2 km/H (about 39 MPH) before there is a Net Protective Effect to a female driver. See More Information for details. The fact is, almost 90% of all accidents occur at 18 MPH or less. In these low speed accidents, the danger of injury or death from airbags is far greater than their benefit.
Recently, safety expert Dr Leonard Evans published a book with a section on airbags that proves through a cost/benefit analysis that they are extremely overpriced for their possible benefit. Dr Evans, an internationally recognized expert in auto safety, also addresses moral and societal issues surrounding airbags in his well thought out treatise and concludes that the US airbag mandate should be rescinded and vehicle manufacturers should be permitted to offer airbags as options. Excerpts from his book Traffic safety are included here.
If Advanced Airbags are developed in the future, they will be designed to be safe for children, women and those with medical conditions. Considering the complexities of these systems and the fact that the airbag must have completed deployment within 1/50th of a second, these systems will probably require improvement before they are perfected.
If you or your passengers are in the categories most endangered, you should consider an airbag switch that will positively turn off the airbag for that person. Currently, there are two phases of implementation for the new "Advanced Airbag" regulations. The second stage gives car makers until 2012 to develop airbag systems that meet the new standards. Until safe airbags are developed, you need to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Although the latest model cars have new airbag and Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS), there is a long way to go before airbags are safe for all drivers and passengers. Congress has mandated "Advanced Airbags" that will also be safe for women and children, but the latest airbag systems are only the first steps toward advanced airbags.
So far, efforts to develop Safe airbags have only resulted in weight-sensor controlled airbag switches to turn on or shut off the passenger airbag under certain conditions. These sensors are set by the car manufacturer to activate the airbag when more than a certain weight is on the seat. Depending on car manufacturer, the passenger airbag is set to deploy when anywhere from 15 lbs to 50 lbs is on the seat.
The problem with this approach is that during an accident, the apparent weight of an occupant can change dramatically, especially if the car is on its side or turning over. So far, there are no automatic airbag switches for Driver airbags offered by car manufacturers .
The term "Advanced Airbags" seems to have been creatively re-defined so that the idea of being safe for a whole family of passengers is no longer part of the definition. Simply having a weight-sensor based cutoff switch now qualifies a car as having advanced airbags. The current deadline for the second phase of the regulations is 2012, at which point all new cars will be equipped with advanced airbags. Some of the newer experimental systems attempt to shut off the passenger airbag if the occupant is out-of- position as well as when there is too little weight on the seat.
A manually operated Airbag On Off Switch or airbag disconnection is still the only way to insure that an airbag will stay turned off regardless of weight change. A manual Airbag Switch lets you turn airbags off or on, whenever you choose. This means you can shut off the airbag to eliminate the risk of airbag injuries, or you can activate the airbag when you choose to have it. At Sensible Solutions we offer manually controlled airbag switches that work on any car, truck or van regardless of whether the car has weight sensors.
The way the system works in the US is that even if you get [permission for an airbag switch from the government for your car, when you rent a car, you will not be able to rent one with a switch in it. That's because the car was approved for the airbag switch rather than the person who qualifies for the switch.