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Old 10th December 2011, 13:44   #31
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

I'm truly sorry for your loss, Sir.

Heart-felt condolences!

This is very disheartening and very upsetting. As an automobile enthusiast, it pains me when lives are lost in an automobile that is otherwise supposed to protect you from harm.

That said, I would like to say a few things regarding this.

I've seen a lot of comments and posts on the internet questioning the S-Class' reliability and safety, especially by the family members of the deceased. And understandably so.

But one must not forget that there is NO CAR in the world that will protect you from death. There is only so much that safety features in your car can do to protect your life. If you take it way beyond the limit, how can one expect safety features to save you?

ABS, EBD, Airbags, brake-assist, aren't angels that will lift you out of the car and out of harms way. They are merely driving aids. They provide a form of assistance. It's like a walking-stick or a wheel-chair. Walking sticks cannot make you run like Usain Bolt, now can they?

People tend to forget so quickly, that a car, however expensive it is and how many ever safety features it has, WILL NOT save you from an incident like this. If you're lucky, you might escape unhurt. But if you aren't, well, it's unfortunate.

Judging by the condition of the car from the photographs provided, it looks like it was quite a shunt. The pillars of the car have been literally ripped off! How can one expect curtain-airbags to save you when the body-shell is being ripped off. It's quite obvious that the driver was speeding and lost control over the car.

A few points I've made:

- The car must have been doing 150 + km/h. This is ILLEGAL on Indian roads. You are not allowed to drive at such speeds in the first place.

- The S-Class might be the most luxurious and technically advanced car today. but at the end of the day, it's just a CAR! And if you take ANY car beyond its limit, you can't expect to live to tell the tale.

- Indian roads may have improved over the years, and one can easily achieve speeds of 200+ on some stretches. But does this mean you should? Indian highways are not safe for speeds anything more than 100 km/h. There is a reason why the limit is 80 km/h. There are many facts that one must take into consideration while discussing Indian highways. Highway users lack common sense and don't understand highway etiquette. Trucks are rash and not driven properly. Add to that, the presence of village people, cattle and other animals straying onto the roads. Indian highway conditions simply do not allow you to drive fast. It's not just about the condition of the road. All the other factors must be understood!

Lastly..

- I am not trying to support Mercedes, and I'm not pointing fingers here. What I'm trying to say is that a car is a car and you cannot consider it to be a chariot from heaven that will protect you from death.

I understand that lives have been lost, but I do not believe that the car is at fault here. One cannot simply put the onus on the car. There are several reasons as to why this incident occurred. Unfortunately, the S-Class was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and plenty of factors contributed to this incident.

My 2 cents.
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Old 10th December 2011, 13:49   #32
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

could there be a chance that airbags do not open if seat belts arent worn in the first place. indians are anyways known to drive without belts still despite the fines.
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:09   #33
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Quote:
Originally Posted by jesal View Post
could there be a chance that airbags do not open if seat belts arent worn in the first place. indians are anyways known to drive without belts still despite the fines.
I read in the first post that the seat belt has been cut to get the driver out of the car, and I also don't think that seat belt will have anything to do with triggering the airbags.
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:20   #34
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
I'm truly sorry for your loss, Sir.

- The car must have been doing 150 + km/h. This is ILLEGAL on Indian roads. You are not allowed to drive at such speeds in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jesal View Post
could there be a chance that airbags do not open if seat belts arent worn in the first place. indians are anyways known to drive without belts still despite the fines.
I do not know why No one has clarified as to how the Airbags work in the post so far.

Isn't it Illegal to drive past 80 on Indian Roads. Infact, in this case the car as well as truck DID put life of others in danger by hitting Kiosks, etc. What was their fault.

I think I have read somewhere on this forum that Airbags DO NOT open if seatbelt is not worn.

Most Importantly : It is still not clear that:
1. Car was overtaking from the Left or Right.
2. Seat Belts were worn or not.
3. Speed of the car.

If buying expensive luxury cars can make you death proof, then Diana would be alive to see his sons wedding.
IIRC this is the same highway on which Rajesh Pilot was killed. Though he was driving a Mahindra Bolero or some other Mahindra vehicle and the accident involved a Rajasthan Roadways Bus.
The other main point to be noted is the "We don't care" attitude shown by Mercedes (if it is true), but are we not used to this in India from lower level to top level. This is really pathetic and Eye-opener again.
Heartfelt condolences for the family.
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:43   #35
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Markmytravel,

Sorry to hear about the accident. RIP Nirmal. May almighty God give the family the strength to bear this tragic loss.

There are lot of unknowns here but one thing is for sure is that the S Class's reputation as probably the best luxury Sedan has taken a beating here. Incidents like these will make people lose faith in the brand and the last thing MB should be doing is inaction. IMHO the inaction from the company is shocking and it is some callous attitude from their side to wait for a court to intervene instead of proactively dealing with this incident.

I've read somewhere that few years back there was an accident involving some mill owner's son in Coimbatore and the guy died in the accident when the Car hit a tree at high speed and upon impact the Car got split into two. Subsequently MB sent a team from Germany to analyze the wreckage to find out what went wrong and what could be done to make their Cars safer.

An excerpt from Wikipedia may tell us something about their attitude - "Historically, the engineering of the S-Class has often occurred without regard to cost, a practice which continued unfettered up through the W140 line. The company in turn has been able to exploit this as a marketing tool, culminating in its onetime slogan, "engineered like no other car in the world." This slogan was used throughout the 1980s with the marketing of the W126 S-Class.
However, following the formation of DaimlerChrysler and the cessation of engineer-sanctioned overbudgeting in the late 1990s, this slogan was dropped; the subsequent W220 model S-Class also exhibited lower reliability and quality rates"

Our family is lucky that an Airbag saved my Dad from a very bad collision 17 yrs back. This happened in Saudi Arabia in a then 4 day old Toyota Corona/Carina which was freshly leased by my dad's company. The driver was lost in thought and did not see a mini truck until the last moment till my dad raised and alarm and instinctively the driver swerved the Car towards the Left without braking but it was too late and the Car's passenger side where my dad was sitting smashed in to the truck at 85-90 kmph. Luckily the Airbag was deployed and by God's grace he escaped miraculously with just a small cut on the webbing between the thumb and the Right index finger. The driver was perfectly safe with no injuries. And my dad said that he was indeed very lucky since seeing the condition of the Car the cops were surprised to see them alive!

Last edited by lloydofcochin : 10th December 2011 at 14:48.
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:46   #36
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

My Condolence to mark and his family.

Krish/Suhaas/Carwatcher et al are assuming the car must be travelling at 120-140-150 km/hr. Not sure why they are making such an assumption. Such damage to cars can happen even if travelling at 60 or 80 kmph. damage actually depend on the relative speed at impact and one would be surprised that speeds as low as 40 kmph at impact can cause huge damage.

I would suggest people to refrain making sweeping statements without knowing facts.
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Old 10th December 2011, 15:04   #37
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselFan View Post
My Condolence to mark and his family.

Krish/Suhaas/Carwatcher et al are assuming the car must be travelling at 120-140-150 km/hr. Not sure why they are making such an assumption. Such damage to cars can happen even if travelling at 60 or 80 kmph. damage actually depend on the relative speed at impact and one would be surprised that speeds as low as 40 kmph at impact can cause huge damage.

I would suggest people to refrain making sweeping statements without knowing facts.
Quote:
A truck moving parallel to his car, took a sudden turn due which he had to apply sudden brakes. Unfortunately he hit the truck from the driver's side. Due to the collision the rod, ...which holds the windscreen of the car broke and hit Nirmal near the shoulder, which caused him to loose control of the car. The car hit a few kiosks on the roadside.
This is the statement made by the deceased's party. One cannot take this statement and call it a fact. It WILL be one-sided, until the police release an official statement of the accident.

Most statements made after an accident are NEVER correct, especially if it's a statement made by the deceased's party. As you can see, there is no mention of the speed at which the car is doing. But pictures do tell you a lot.

Some noteworthy points:

- The car's driver's side (including the A-Pillar) has been ripped apart. This is where the curtain-airbags are concealed. How can one expect the airbag to deploy when the car itself gets ripped apart?

- Why did it happen on the driver's side? Was the person behind the wheel trying to overtake from the WRONG side, when the truck swerved into him, or was he in the middle lane?

- It is true, that such accidents can be fatal, even at speeds as low as 40 km/h. But just look at that picture! Look at the state of that S-Class, right there. It has supposedly turned turtle and the driver apparently lost control. Now under what circumstances can a driver lose control over a car? Under the influence of alcohol, yes. Speed, yes. (this is a general statement and has nothing to do with this particular accident)

A driver may lose control over his car even at 40 km/h. But will it result in damage akin to this accident? The damage will be minimal, IMO. A car doing 40 km/h and spiraling out of control will come to a halt a lot quicker. But the chances of such damage happening due to cars spiraling our of control at higher speeds is more believable.

Still, one cannot say for sure that the driver was speeding. But I have arrived at the conclusion that the driver was going way to fast and overtaking from the wrong side of the road.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 10th December 2011 at 15:05.
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Old 10th December 2011, 15:44   #38
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselFan View Post
My Condolence to mark and his family.

Krish/Suhaas/Carwatcher et al are assuming the car must be travelling at 120-140-150 km/hr. Not sure why they are making such an assumption. Such damage to cars can happen even if travelling at 60 or 80 kmph. damage actually depend on the relative speed at impact and one would be surprised that speeds as low as 40 kmph at impact can cause huge damage.

I would suggest people to refrain making sweeping statements without knowing facts.
Couldn't Agree more. But where are the facts. If they are stated in first post itself no one could've made such assumptions including you.
If car is travelling at 40-60-80 and the person could not be saved, then I fully agree with the deceased family that Merc S-Class is at fault.
I am unable to understand how a car at 40-60-80 speed can cross the divider (which is generally very wide on that highway) and cross the road and hit the kiosks at other side.

I think we should follow this thread and get to know other unknown facts as soon as Mercedes starts to speak-up.

Last edited by carwatcher : 10th December 2011 at 16:14.
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Old 10th December 2011, 16:23   #39
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Replies to you inline.
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post

Most statements made after an accident are NEVER correct, especially if it's a statement made by the deceased's party. As you can see, there is no mention of the speed at which the car is doing.
agreed - unless there was a co-passenger in there as well.

But pictures do tell you a lot.

Some noteworthy points:

- The car's driver's side (including the A-Pillar) has been ripped apart. This is where the curtain-airbags are concealed. How can one expect the airbag to deploy when the car itself gets ripped apart?
There's steering+ curtain airbag. The former should have deployed. But IMO it didn't because the FRONT bumper was not ripped apart. It was the A pillar + roof. The other question is was the roof cut up to rescue Nirmal? Cutting up the accident vehicle to rescue passengers is quite common.


- Why did it happen on the driver's side? Was the person behind the wheel trying to overtake from the WRONG side, when the truck swerved into him, or was he in the middle lane?
You can never know. Trucks often crawl in the right lane (and often even individual vehicles do so as well)

- It is true, that such accidents can be fatal, even at speeds as low as 40 km/h. But just look at that picture! Look at the state of that S-Class, right there. It has supposedly turned turtle and the driver apparently lost control. Now under what circumstances can a driver lose control over a car? Under the influence of alcohol, yes. Speed, yes. (this is a general statement and has nothing to do with this particular accident)
Now that is debatable. How much speed does it take to make a car airborne after it has hit the pavement/edge of the road? 60?80?100? 150? You and I cannot make sweeping statements about speeding just like that without studying the topology of that area, the impact point, the angle of impact, etc all the variables.

Still, one cannot say for sure that the driver was speeding. But I have arrived at the conclusion that the driver was going way to fast and overtaking from the wrong side of the road.
In my experience, that is regular course of business. Most of us drive at 80-100 and have to overtake trucks/slower vehicles hogging the right lane at times. You make it sound like a fatal mistake. Is there any other option on Indian highways?
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Old 10th December 2011, 16:55   #40
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
There's steering+ curtain airbag. The former should have deployed. But IMO it didn't because the FRONT bumper was not ripped apart. It was the A pillar + roof. The other question is was the roof cut up to rescue Nirmal? Cutting up the accident vehicle to rescue passengers is quite common.
- The steering-airbag may might not have been activated because of the minimal impact up front. Maximum damage can be seen on the driver's side.

- And yes, when rescue operations are underway, the workers use gas-cutters to remove parts of the car in order to reach the occupants inside. However, according to the few facts, the car came in contact with the truck and the 'rod', as described by someone in that news-piece, was ripped off. Now when a car's pillars get ripped off, it's a sign of a serious serious accident, and it generally can't happen at slower speeds, unless the car was smashed by something else while it was parked, or something.

- The side airbags and curtain airbags deploy in the event of an accident that impacts the sides of the car. But if the car has sustained severe damage, don't you think the internal components of the car are susceptible to malfunctioning. And we're talking of damage like pillars getting ripped off here, not just some dents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
You can never know. Trucks often crawl in the right lane (and often even individual vehicles do so as well)
Absolutely agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Now that is debatable. How much speed does it take to make a car airborne after it has hit the pavement/edge of the road? 60?80?100? 150? You and I cannot make sweeping statements about speeding just like that without studying the topology of that area, the impact point, the angle of impact, etc all the variables.
There are many factors, as you've mentioned, that can contribute to an accident. It's not just the speed. It's the angle of impact, the intensity of impact, the presence of some other object that is possibly being looked beyond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
In my experience, that is regular course of business. Most of us drive at 80-100 and have to overtake trucks/slower vehicles hogging the right lane at times. You make it sound like a fatal mistake. Is there any other option on Indian highways?
Wholeheartedly.

Now in a place like India, we have cows on highways, we have kids darting across the road without even looking, errant cyclists riding against the divider, tractors going the wrong way and then you have these gigantic trucks hogging the road.

Now what is the ideal way of tackling such traffic and obstacles while driving on the highway?

- Flash once or twice

- honk gently

- estimate the distance to be covered and the time it would require you to cover the distance in order to get ahead of the vehicle in front of you.

- Look in the mirror repeatedly in order to ensure that someone behind you isn't being misled in case you make a mistake.

- If the driver in the right lane isn't making way, we must slowly make our way to the left lane and make a few mental calculations before performing the overtaking maneuver.

- Overtake the vehicle as quickly as possible, and don't linger in the lane by the side of the vehicle you're attempting to overtake.

- Stay in the overtaking lane for a short distance and once you've gained some distance over the vehicle you've overtaken, slowly merge into the correct lane.

Now these are a few guidelines that I've been taught by my father during our highway drives. And I'm just 22 so I haven't had the highway driving experience that some of you'll have here. But I see people with this so-called-experience, cutting lanes at high speeds and getting so close to vehicles and swerving into lanes without any indication.

About 90% of the cars on the highway are driven like this, and that includes cabbies and the occasional expensive BMW.

The problem is, when you're in a car like the S Class, you feel like you're wearing this cloak of invincibility. One would tend to feel like nothing can hurt him because he is in the safest car in the World. Why, it's so funny when I see some people driving like they're invincible irrespective of the car they're driving.

They might have superior car control and what not, but by pushing the car to the limits, you're not only shortening the time you get to react to a sudden change of scene, you're creating chances for accidents to take place.

NOTE: I am in no way suggesting that the driver of the Merc behaved like this when he was behind the wheel before the tragic accident. However, it's a possibility. Just as much as the airbags failing - a possibility. And the speeding - a possibility.
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Old 10th December 2011, 17:22   #41
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

My Condolence to his family, may his soul RIP.

The more I drive on Indian roads, the more I feel the need for caution on Indian roads. These expensive cars feel like tanks and have incredible high-speed stability that gives you a false sense of invincibility but during higher speed accidents they are not very different from cheaper cars in terms of their ability to save lives. Real-life accidents are very different from NCAP tests.

As much as I enjoy driving, I am getting tired of dealing with the consequences of driving - accidents, breakdowns, repairs and what not!
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Old 10th December 2011, 17:22   #42
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

What is appalling here is that the driver the passenger air-bag did got deployed, and not the driver side (front or curtain). That alone is a big concern, and looks like a major flaw.

As GTO mentioned, why not deploy all the airbags (or at least those around the passenger occupied seats) in case of an impactful accident like this. In this case, it happened the other way.
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Old 11th December 2011, 02:29   #43
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

@Markmytravel: Condolences to you and your family at this loss.
The pertinent question is NOT that had the airbags been deployed could it not have saved the life that was lost. It instead is SHOULD the airbags not have been deployed in such an accident?
I gather the OP is clear that a deployment of airbag would not have necessarily meant the life saved.
Mercedes owe a response to the family of the deceased, all the Mercedes' owners and potential owners and every car enthusiast an explanation as to why the airbags did not deploy whereas the expectation is that they (at least the one in the driver side) should have.
At least, I call for the experts here to please explain the context when an airbag will be deployed and when it will not.
Again, no amount of safety will guarantee the prevention of death but the more the safety features the less ghastly such deaths should be, at minimum.
Finally, before judging the speed of the Mercedes just by the picture, one should not forget to take into account the possible momentum the truck would have imparted to the car going by its (the truck's) sheer mass. A truck doing a great speed and given its mass could impact a significant momentum, at collision, to a car considerably lighter which would result in the car's velocity shoot up - Am I wrong?
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Old 12th December 2011, 00:39   #44
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Suhaas, find my comments in bold below. We are not blaming Merc for the incident but for their negligence because life is precious and they or any of their dealers/service stations cannot take it easy. It is very much possible that service assistants are not trained and may have screwed up the security systems while servicing or the Merc is really shipping cars with faulty features. We just want the incident to be probed in detail and culprits (if any) should be punished.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
- The steering-airbag may might not have been activated because of the minimal impact up front. Maximum damage can be seen on the driver's side.

So you are suggesting the airbags will only work when the target hits the bulls eye. Given the state of the vehicle, one can see the damage has been considerable so if the airbags did not open on such an impact, I don't see what else it will take.

- And yes, when rescue operations are underway, the workers use gas-cutters to remove parts of the car in order to reach the occupants inside. However, according to the few facts, the car came in contact with the truck and the 'rod', as described by someone in that news-piece, was ripped off. Now when a car's pillars get ripped off, it's a sign of a serious serious accident, and it generally can't happen at slower speeds, unless the car was smashed by something else while it was parked, or something.


- The side airbags and curtain airbags deploy in the event of an accident that impacts the sides of the car. But if the car has sustained severe damage, don't you think the internal components of the car are susceptible to malfunctioning. And we're talking of damage like pillars getting ripped off here, not just some dents.

I thought security systems are designed to work under disasters only and if you are suggesting they malfunctioned during a disaster that's where the problem is. At the time of buying, everyone claims their safety systems are world class so let Mercedes come up with a statement that airbags may malfunction in case of accident so buyer's can make their decisions.

Absolutely agree!



There are many factors, as you've mentioned, that can contribute to an accident. It's not just the speed. It's the angle of impact, the intensity of impact, the presence of some other object that is possibly being looked beyond.

Definitely many other factors and possibly others had more impact than the airbag. No one is denying the fact that the biggest reason is fate and bad luck and then the truck. But even if airbags not deploying played 0.1% part, the culprits should be punished because we are talking about life here.


Wholeheartedly.

Now in a place like India, we have cows on highways, we have kids darting across the road without even looking, errant cyclists riding against the divider, tractors going the wrong way and then you have these gigantic trucks hogging the road.

Accident's happen everywhere and it has nothing to do with India or any other nation, so let's stop blaming India and Indian road conditions for every accident that happens. No one wants to get into an accident for fun, it just happens by mistake and mistakes can happen anywhere and by anyone.

Now what is the ideal way of tackling such traffic and obstacles while driving on the highway?

- Flash once or twice

- honk gently

- estimate the distance to be covered and the time it would require you to cover the distance in order to get ahead of the vehicle in front of you.

- Look in the mirror repeatedly in order to ensure that someone behind you isn't being misled in case you make a mistake.

- If the driver in the right lane isn't making way, we must slowly make our way to the left lane and make a few mental calculations before performing the overtaking maneuver.

- Overtake the vehicle as quickly as possible, and don't linger in the lane by the side of the vehicle you're attempting to overtake.

- Stay in the overtaking lane for a short distance and once you've gained some distance over the vehicle you've overtaken, slowly merge into the correct lane.

Now these are a few guidelines that I've been taught by my father during our highway drives. And I'm just 22 so I haven't had the highway driving experience that some of you'll have here. But I see people with this so-called-experience, cutting lanes at high speeds and getting so close to vehicles and swerving into lanes without any indication.

About 90% of the cars on the highway are driven like this, and that includes cabbies and the occasional expensive BMW.

The problem is, when you're in a car like the S Class, you feel like you're wearing this cloak of invincibility. One would tend to feel like nothing can hurt him because he is in the safest car in the World. Why, it's so funny when I see some people driving like they're invincible irrespective of the car they're driving.

They might have superior car control and what not, but by pushing the car to the limits, you're not only shortening the time you get to react to a sudden change of scene, you're creating chances for accidents to take place.

I really appreciate and respect your driving education but just feel that you are trying to show off your knowledge here. And even if a driver follows all the points you have mentioned above, there is no guarantee he will not get into an accident. So assuming the deceased was not following all the rules is not correct.
The point our family is raising here is if the airbags and safety features didn't activate in such a severe damage, who is to be blamed. We don't want to wait for someone to loose his life when meeting an accident at 30-40 speed because the air bag didn't activate. No one wants another family to loose their son, because the said safety features didn't work in an ordinary accident.
Mods: I am sorry to have been using such a language, so please feel free to delete this comment if you feel so. But its just my feeling and nothing personal against anyone.


NOTE: I am in no way suggesting that the driver of the Merc behaved like this when he was behind the wheel before the tragic accident. However, it's a possibility. Just as much as the airbags failing - a possibility. And the speeding - a possibility.

Last edited by markmytravel : 12th December 2011 at 00:42.
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Old 12th December 2011, 02:26   #45
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Default Re: Mercedes S-Class Accident : Owner dead, Airbag doesn't activate and Court orders

Mark - Deepest condolences to you. Sorry to hear about it. But from what I can see in the pics, the front part of the car, bumper and hood etc has not taken much of a hit. The airbag sensors for the front airbags are behind the front bumper. To be very frank I'm not sure how exactly the Mercedes safety systems function, but if the driver and passenger airbag have 2 different sensors then it is possible that the driver airbag sensor did not detect enough impact to inflate the airbag. Now if they have a common sensor and the passenger airbag has inflated, then there is definitely something wrong with the driver airbag.
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