What are reasons that airbags might not deploy?

What are reasons that airbags might not deploy?
What are reasons that airbags might not deploy?
William T. Corbett, JR.

Vehicles offer more safety features than ever, but errors can still occur. On rare occasions, an airbag may not deploy during an accident.

Malfunctioning automobile safety equipment can lead to serious injuries that have significant costs, so drivers should know what to do if an airbag does not operate properly.

Reasons airbags may malfunction

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration notes that airbags have saved over 50,000 lives in a 20-year span. The safety mechanism should trigger after a vehicle impact. Still, airbags may not function due to various reasons:

  • Manufacturing or system defects, such as defective modules, electrical components and sensors
  • A low-impact collision not sufficient to trigger deployment
  • An intense crash that severs electrical wires and deactivates airbags
  • Airbags not replaced after a previous collision

Additionally, advanced airbag systems that sense a small person or child in a seat do not activate. Manufacturers design airbags to protect adults of average size, but the placement can injure a child. Newer systems attempt to discern when a child is in a seat and deactivates the airbag system.

Possible liability for airbag malfunctions

If an airbag did not deploy when it should have, the cause might be a manufacturing defect. The type of liability depends on which team in the production process erred.

A marketing or information defect involves a company not mentioning potential hazards or making misleading or deceptive claims about how the product should work. Design defects occur when manufacturers follow engineering plans, but the design is faulty. A manufacturing defect is when any step in product creation does not follow a safe design.

If an accident injury causes loss or damages because of faulty equipment, a vehicle manufacturer may be liable for the harm. Possible compensation depends on due diligence in establishing that the product was defective.

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