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03-09-2009, 10:51 PM
For years, the trusty seatbelts provided the sole form of passive restraints in our car. There were debates about their safety, especially related to children, but over time, much of the country adopted mandatory seat-belt laws. Statistics have show that seat-belts have saved thousands of lives that might have been lost in collisions.
Airbags have been under development for many years. The first commercial airbags appeared in automobiles in the 1980s.They are a proven safety device that save a growing number of lives, and prevent a large number of head and chest injuries. They are reducing driver deaths by 14 percent and passenger bags reduce deaths by about 11 percent.
People who use seat-belts think they do not need airbags. But they do. Airbags and lap/shoulder belts work together as a system, and one without the other isn't as effective. Deaths are 12 percent lower among drivers with belts and 9 percent lower among belted passengers.
Since model year, all new cars have been required to have airbags on both driver and passenger sides. Light trucks came under the rule in 1999.Newer than steering-wheel-mounted or dashboard-mounted bags are seat-mounted door-mounted and window airbags. Airbags are subject of serious government and industry researches and tests.
Airbags can cause some unintended adverse effects. Nearly all of these are minor injuries like bruises and abrasions that are more than offset by the lives airbags are saving.
You can eliminate this risk, and position is what counts. Serious inflation injuries occur primarily because of peoples position when airbags first begin inflating.
Before looking at the specifics, let's review our knowledge of the laws of motion. We know that moving objects have momentum. Unless an outside force acts on an object the object will continue to move in its present speed and direction. Cars consist of several objects including the vehicle itself, loose object in the car and of course the passengers itself. If these objects are not restrained, they will continue moving at whatever speed the car is traveling at, even if the car is stopped by collision.
Stopping an objects momentum requires force acting over a period of time. When a car crashes the force required to stop an object is very great because the car's momentum has changed instantly while the passengers has not. The goal of any supplement restraint system is to help stop the passengers while doing as little damage to him or her as possible.
What an airbag want to do is to slow down the passenger's speed to zero with little or no damage .The constraints that it has to work are huge .The airbag has the space between the passenger and the steering wheel or dashboard and a fraction of a second to work with. Even that tiny amount of space and time is valuable
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