Aside from the seat-belt, airbags also contribute to keeping the driver and passengers safe in the event of an accident. Airbags will automatically fill up following a strong collision in an attempt to minimize any injuries to the people within the vehicle.
Statistics from the United States' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that:
- Airbags help minimize injuries to the head, neck, chest, and face of the driver and front passenger in the case of frontal impact.
- Airbags help decrease the chance of death by 30% in the case of frontal impact.
- The speed of airbag inflation is very fast (it only takes 1-4/100 of a second) and so can potentially injure people sitting too close to the bags. The risk zone is the first 5-8cm of inflation. Thus drivers and passengers should sit at least 25cm from the airbags to maintain a margin of safety.
- Do not allow children, pregnant women, or elderly people to sit in the front seat, even when the vehicle is fully outfitted with frontal airbags.
- Airbags can only protect drivers and passengers wearing their seat-belt correctly.