Air Bags Can Kill 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 shouldnt 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, (http://zephyr.oracle.usf.edu/archive/199711/19971 119/19971119-comm 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 dangers. Now, according to CNN, Government announces rules for air bag switches, (http://www.cnn.com/US/9711/18/airbags.presser/ind ex.html), 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 doesnt protect people who would need to drive someone elses car, or people who would give someone elses children a ride.
It will only protect the vehicles 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 cant have switches installed in their vehicles, just people who meet the requirements set by the NHSTA. The government shouldnt 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 dont 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 wont 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 wouldnt 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 dont. 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 Bibliography Sorces Special Crash Investigation Report http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa/SCIFiles/1099 rpt.htm DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 571 and 595 [Docket No. NHTSA-97-3111] RIN 2127 – AG61 Air Bag On-Off Switches http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/rule/section01.ht ml Mazda Safety Notice 6 August, 1997 http://www.miata.net/misc/airbagsafety.html Current Events.