The Danger Of Air Bags And The — страница 3
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fundamental problem with this is that a passenger unbelted will be propelled forward without restraint towards the dash from which the air bag is being deployed. It takes much more speed to have the bag out in time to save the passenger, which means it must come out at a faster rate with more force, which could severely injure passengers, especially those smaller passengers such as some females and small children. (Reed, Donald) This situation gets multiplied with those passengers that are out of a normal position, because then you have no idea of where they are and where to keep the greatest amount of force. (Boyle; Sharp) One way of preventing this problem is by being properly restrained with the restraints that are already in place, such as a seat belt. It has been shown through study that the use of a standard seat belt with a shoulder strap, as most cars come with now, can reduce your risk of serious head/neck injury by up to 81 percent. (www.highwaysafety.org/safety_facts/airbags/stats.html). Another aspect of proper use is child restraint in a car-seat/ restraint harness. It is extremely important that children be restrained in a harness, but it is equally important that the apparatus be used properly to ensure safety. Based on NHTSA numbers, there have been 66 children killed (as of 9/1/98) due to air bag related injuries. According to this report, 51 of these 66 children killed were not properly restrained, that is approximately 77 percent of all the children killed. (www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/) In many of these cases, if the children were properly restrained, the child would have escaped with only minor injuries. The proper use of a child restraint system has an impeccable record, and it would reduce the number of fatalities in this case as well. De-powering of air bag deployment A third option is to reduce the amount of speed and force of the air bag when it deploys, but this theory has its evident flaws as well.. One reason that the air bag comes out with the force it does is in order to be in position when an unbelted occupant flies forward in an accident. If you de-power the deployment of the air bag systems, they lose reaction time which could result in more lost lives due to late protection. This option does reduce the risk of injury by an air bag to the driver or passenger, but increases the risk in a collision due to late reaction of a restraint. (Glover, Maurice) This is not a cure for the problem, but a diversion of one problem to another that is less controllable. This option, though potentially effective for air bag injuries, has the potential to increase the amount and severity of injury in a collision. Most NHTSA officials and automobile manufacturers are using this option as a last resort due to its lack of total effectiveness. (U.S. Department of Transportation) Development and production of Advanced Air Bag Systems The NHTSA has come up with what seems to be the most logical plan yet; if you can’t improve the situation, improve the air bag. There is legislation intact now in the NHTSA Reauthorization Act of 1998, stating that automobile manufacturers must insert the most advanced, feasible air bag for new cars, but the NHTSA has decided to take this one step further. The NHTSA has two main objectives that should result in the minimizing of risk of air bags; “1) air bag deployment must be suppressed in situations that are risky to occupants, or 2) the air bag must be designed to deploy in such a way that it does not present significant risk of serious injury to out-of-position occupants”. (www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbag/proposed/advbag.html) There are many variables that go into designing an advanced air bag system, but most include a type of sensor under the passenger seat and driver seats that indicate the position of the occupant and a type of deploying that will vary in strength based upon the occupant. This is an extremely difficult process to develop, but based on new NHTSA legislation, these so-called advanced air bags should be in place in 25 percent of all new vehicles in 2001 with eventually 100 percent of all vehicles in the model year 2006 beginning on October 1, 2005. (www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbag/proposed/advbag.htm) These new air bags are targeted to better protect the two highest risk groups of air bag injury, small females and children. Another difference between these air bag systems and the ones of the past is that the testing for these is much more stringent testing with more emphasis put on more protection of properly restrained occupants. In this proposal, there is also a new section for the study and protection of out-of-position passengers, something that has been left off in earlier systems.