Airbags have been used in vehicles since the 1970’s. The first generation of airbags were deploying at the slightest collision. The module (brain of the system) could not tell the difference between a 5 mph collision and a 40 mph collision. This would set the airbags off every time the vehicle was hit, and most of the time doing more harm than good. The airbag was like a giant boxing glove deploying unnecessarily.
Since then they have greatly modified the SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) in vehicles to not only know how fast the car is going, but also to know the weight of the passenger, if there is a passenger, how far back the seat of the driver is, and the direction of the vehicle’s impact. This is what is known as second generation airbags. If the seat is further back, the air bag can deploy with more force, and if there is no weight in the passenger’s seat it knows to not deploy that airbag at all. The system is also able to tell the direction of the collision in order to determine if the airbags need to deploy, or which set of airbags it needs to deploy (the front airbags, or side airbags). Third and forth generation airbags systems are in the works to further protect loved ones. This has, and will, greatly reduced the injury to all passengers in the vehicle. There is no doubt that airbags have saved the lives of many, but the new generation of airbags has also greatly reduced unnecessary injury.
Important: Make sure that if your airbags do deploy, that the seat-belts in use at the time of the accident be replaced, and the ones not in use at the time of the accident be checked thoroughly. The seat-belts have a one time charge that locks them in place at the time of airbag deployment. After this charge is set, the seatbelt is no longer safe to use.
Most important: If you are in an accident where you have a child safety seat, always replace the seat. All manufactures of these seats recommend the immediate replacement of the child safety seat. All insurance companies will reimburse you for the replacement of the seat.