Air Bag Safety For The Prevention Of Injury And De Essay

This essay has a total of 950 words and 4 pages.

Air Bag Safety For The Prevention Of Injury And Death


According to statistics, motor vehicle accidents are the number one leading cause of
unintentional injury-related deaths, making up close to 45% and more than quadrupling all
other causes. Although these statistics can be overwhelming knowing that driving a motor
vehicle on a daily basis comes with a lot of risk, an individuals chance of injury can be
lowered by following basic rules of safety. The American Trauma Society believes that the
injury rate could be reduced by 50% if people would simply apply existing information
about prevention. Wearing a seat belt while riding in a motor vehicle is by far the
easiest way to prevent injury and death, and should be done anyhow because it is a federal
law to do so. In addition to seat belts, motor vehicles are equipped with air bags, an
automatic form of protection designed to reduce the risk of injury. In the past decade,
air bags have saved the lives of close to 3,000 people. The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of real-world motor vehicle crashes and
were able to conclude that the combination of seat belts and air bags is 75% effective in
preventing serious head injuries and 66% effective in preventing serious chest injuries.
Unfortunately for about 100 people in the past decade, their lives were saved at the
expense of suffering a less severe injury caused by the air bag itself. However, when
proper air bag safety is applied in conjunction of wearing a seat belt properly, most
injuries and deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes are minimized or even prevented all
together.

Air bags are designed specifically to cushion occupants as they move forward in a
front-end crash, keeping the head, neck, and chest from hitting the steering wheel or
dashboard. In order to perform well, air bags deploy quickly and forcefully, with the
greatest force in the first 2-3 inches after releasing through the cover and beginning to
inflate. Therefore, occupants who are positioned too close to the air bag at the time it
deploys put themselves at risk to suffer serious injury or death. The one fact that is
common to all who have died due to an air bag induced injury is NOT their height, weight,
sex, or age, but rather the fact that they were too close to the air bag when it started
to deploy. In the circumstances of those who have died, almost all of them were improperly
restrained or positioned, or even unrestrained. A few had medical conditions that caused
them to slump over the steering wheel immediately before the crash, making their bodies
positioned too close to the air bag, while some were sitting too close to the steering
wheel to begin with.

Following a few basic safety rules can reduce the risk of injuries caused by air bags.
First and foremost, one should buckle up. The position of the seat belt is important in
functioning properly such that they stretch and slow down the movement towards the
steering wheel or dashboard. All slack from the belt should be taken in and it should be
positioned over the hips, not the abdomen, and across the chest and over the shoulder.
Sitting back allows the air bag to inflate before the occupant moves forward far enough to
contact the air bag. The front seats should be moved back toward the rear, providing at
least 10 inches from the passenger's chest to the dashboard and from the driver's chest to
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