In 1953, an industrial engineering technician named John Hetrick received a patent for his design for a “safety cushion assembly for automotive vehicles”. Though his sketches were not implemented, various companies started experimenting with designs for inflatable restraints in the late 1950s. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that a mechanical engineer named Allen Breed would invent the crash sensor that would spark more interest in the airbag. Originally, the airbag was only offered as an option in select models but by the mid- 1980s to 1990, it was standard equipment in most models across brands. With the passing of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, all automobiles would be required to be equipped with airbags on both the driver side and passenger side after September 1998.
In today’s automobiles, airbags are still required and are responsible for saving an estimated 2,000 lives each year. With the technology that can inflate the airbag at up to 200 miles an hour, or in roughly one-twenty-fifth of a second, it’s no wonder so many lives have been saved and so many have been kept from more serious injuries. Manufacturers have continued to improve the safety of drivers and passengers by adding side airbags, curtain airbags, and even head airbags in certain models.
Even though airbags often save lives, they do not completely prevent injury. If you have been involved in a high impact collision where airbags were deployed, you may experience bruising, abrasions and even broken bones from impacting the inflated airbag. In addition, some experience breathing issues from the powder used in the airbag construction. Here at Bean, Smith and Burnett, we have handled many collisions involving airbags and we know how to maximize the amount of money you would be entitled to for your injuries. Please give us a call for a free consultation on any injury you have sustained from an automobile collision.