A new study by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, to be published this year in the peer-reviewed journal The Annals of Epidemiology, suggests that the latest model of airbags, available in some cars since 2004 and mandated since 2008, may be reducing crash survivability for belted drivers.
The researchers found that belted drivers had a twenty-one percent greater chance of dying in cars equipped with the newer airbags, compared to belted drivers in cars equipped with the older model airbag. The auto accident fatality statistics were unchanged for drivers who weren’t wearing seat belts.
The researchers did not offer a definitive explanation for their findings. Instead, they conclude that there could be a multitude of explanations for their results, including the possibility that the newer airbag systems, which take into account a number of factors before determining whether to deploy, may not be responding as anticipated in real-life car crashes.
While researchers sort out whether the new airbag design is suboptimal in terms of saving lives, drivers should continue to wear seatbelts and should not deactivate their airbags. These tentative findings suggest only that the newer airbag design may be inferior to the older one, not that drivers and passengers should go unbelted or without airbags. The perennial wisdom that airbags and seat belts save lives in accidents continues to hold true.
If you believe that you were injured as a dangerous or defective product in a car and require the services of a Boston product liability attorney, call The Law Office of Alan H. Crede at (617)973-6434 to arrange a free consultation.