Knowing Your Frontal Air Bag

Noble McIntyre on November 4, 2014

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If your passenger car or light truck was manufactured in 2006 or later, you have advanced frontal air bags. While air bags are designed to make your experience as a driver or passenger safer, you still need to know some potentially life-saving facts in order to use them to the fullest potential.

An advanced frontal air bag is designed to automatically determine whether and with exactly how much power the frontal air bags for the driver and passenger will inflate. These air bags have sensors that detect occupant size, seat position, whether the occupant is wearing a seat belt and the severity of the crash. Advanced frontal air bag systems are designed to be even more effective than standard air bags. This is because there have been instances where air bags injured or killed adults or children who were seated too close to air bag when it deployed. Generally, this has happened because the person either was not wearing a seat belt and slid forward just before crash impact, or was leaning too far forward from his seat. The advanced frontal air bags are designed to minimize these risks.

An advanced frontal air bag can inflate in a fraction of a second during a crash in order to prevent you from hitting the inside of the vehicle in a moderate to severe frontal crash. In a lower-speed frontal crash, an advanced frontal air bag might inflate at less than 100% in order to provide optimal protection. The air bag might not deploy at all if there is a rollover, side-impact or rear-end crash.

An advanced frontal air bag is not a substitute for a seat belt! Even though your advanced frontal air bag is “smart”, it is intended to enhance – not replace – using a seat belt. Your seat belt is still the most important aspect to keeping you safe in the event of a crash. Here are some safety precautions recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • There should be a minimum of 10 inches between your breastbone and the air bag cover. The air bag cover is the center of the steering wheel for the driver and the dashboard for the front-seat passenger.
  • Children under 13 should remain in the back seat. Children should always be in the appropriate child restraint or safety seat for their age and size.
  • If the driver or passenger is elderly or smaller in stature, be properly belted, maintain proper seating position and move the seat back as far as possible.
  • Pregnant women should follow the same advice, and position the lap belt low on the abdomen below the fetus. The shoulder belt can be worn normally.
  • If an advanced frontal air bag deploys, it must be replaced. They cannot function a second time.
  • If your air bag warning light is on, the air bag system might not be ready for a crash. Have your air bag evaluated by a qualified service technician immediately.
  • To know the full benefits and limitations of any air bag system, read your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

For more guidelines and information about your advanced frontal air bag system, click here for FAQs from the NHTSA.

Crash Test Dummy by smjbk, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by 

Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.

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