Virtually all new cars have airbags, and they’re saving lives. They’re reducing driver deaths by about 14 percent, and passenger bags reduce deaths by about 11 percent. People who use safety belts may think they don’t 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.

But there also are problems with airbags. Inflating bags have caused some serious injuries and deaths.

  • Position Is What Counts
  • Kids in the Back
  • Adults: Buckle Up and Sit Back

On/Off Switches for Airbags

The federal government has set criteria for the very few cases when airbag on/off switches may be needed to avoid injury risk. But getting a driver airbag switch makes sense only when someone — for example, a very short person — has tried various positions and cannot comfortably drive while sitting back and away from the steering wheel. A woman late in pregnancy who cannot get her abdomen away from the steering wheel also may wish to get permission for a switch based on medical need. But remember that in a serious crash without an airbag, sitting so close to the wheel means a high risk of hitting it.

FOR MORE INFORMATIONwww.iihs.org/brochures/pdf/about_airbags_english.pdf

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