Air Bags Can Kill Essay Research Paper

Air Bags Can Kill Essay, Research Paper

Air Bags Can Kill

Even though air bags are designed to save lives, they can be

harmful or fatal to some people. The National Highway Traffic Safety

Administration has recognized this concern and has made efforts to

reduce injuries caused by air bag deployment by allowing the installation

of a switch that turns off air bags. But in order to have a switch

installed, the driver must file a request for an air bag on-off switch.

People shouldn?t have to seek permission from the government to

disable a device that has been found to be responsible for many deaths

from their vehicles.

According to The Oracle, ?Turning off the airbags?,


ent1.html), when an airbag deploys, there is an explosion in the dash and

steering wheel that releases the airbags at a speed of 200 mph. This force

has been found to be the cause of many deaths, mostly being children.

And the explosion that propels the airbag can cause chemical burns and

even blindness. The dangers of airbags are so great that car

manufacturers now put warning labels in vehicles explaining the


Now, according to CNN, ?Government announces rules for air

bag switches,?

(, if the

owner of a vehicle or a passenger has a medical condition which would

put them at a greater risk from airbags, then they can apply permission to

disable the airbags in their vehicle. This also applies if a child must ride

in the front seat. But it doesn?t protect people who would need to drive

someone else?s car, or people who would give someone else?s children a

ride. It will only protect the vehicle?s owner and immediate family.

Although passing the rule that allows the owner of a vehicle to

disable the airbags is a good start in saving lives, it is not enough.

Everyone can?t have switches installed in their vehicles, just people who

meet the requirements set by the NHSTA. The government shouldn?t

have to decide whether or not air bags pose a treat to individual

passengers and drivers. As Henry Thoreau says in ?Civil Disobedience?

Conversations p.642, ?government is best which governs least.? We just

don?t need laws on airbags at all. It would be more practical for the

driver of the car to make the choice if the airbags should be on or off. If

there is to be a law passed, then it should require auto manufactures to

put shutoff switches on all vehicles equipped with airbags. The

government won?t do this because it has the attitude that it has to protect

everyone from themselves, and that if the people are given a choice in

their safety, then they will make the wrong choice. This is unfortunate,

especially with airbags, because unlike other mandatory safety devices,

like seat belts, air bags have been proven dangerous. They now have

warnings on them explaining how dangerous they are and how to protect

yourself from them, but wouldn?t the best protection for some be turning

them off? For some the answer is ?yes.? Even though most people

benefit from airbags in serious crashes, some don?t. And these people

need to be able to turn off the air bag in front of them in any vehicle they

drive or ride in, not just the one they own.

This problem has a simple solution. Allowing anyone to install a shutoff switch

on his/her own vehicle without having to get permission from the government would be

the first step. Also, all new vehicles should have airbag shutoff switches as standard

equipment. And the NHTSA should put out public awareness advertisements about who

airbags help and who they can be harmful to. The informed consumer would then be able

to override the airbag system whenever they might pose a threat to the driver or passenger

and many lives would be saved



Special Crash Investigation Report


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 571 and 595

[Docket No. NHTSA-97-3111]

RIN 2127 – AG61

Air Bag On-Off Switches

Mazda Safety Notice

6 August, 1997


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