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Old 3rd February 2008, 08:37   #1
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Exclamation Is AirBag a must have given the following ?

I haven been on the look out for a family mover (will post a section in the "What car?" section after some advice on this topic) and am stuck with the following two points before shortlisting some models.

Crumple zone + Collapsible Steering Column + Seat Belts
(Vs)
Air Bag.

No doubt that ABS is a must have (can avoid accidents on many occasions). On the contrary air bag safety is a topic of discussion (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...eployment.html (2nd Degree burns from airbag deployment!!!)). However, that is not the debate I want to start with this thread.

City Driving:
Imagine a family with lot of kids driving in the car. And the fact that most of them allow kids to sit on the co-driver's lap (or) even the kid himself sitting on the co-driver seat. AGREE being a responsible driver, it’s his/her responsibility to ensure that all passengers are seated safely. However, if it was to be short drive (may be pick up a ice cream or some thing of that sort) and you (being the driver) will let a kid sit on the front seat (passenger). Should a head on collision happen at a nominal speed (don't know the minimum speed when air bag should inflate), if the airbag was to inflate. It might hurt the kid lot more than one would imagine without the airbag.

Highway driving:
Ok now leaving apart kids sitting on the front seat. Assuming only adults are seated with seat belts fastened. On long drives, at high speed, if a head on collision should occur, would the "Crumple Zone"+”collapsible Steering column”+”Seat belt” safety features not be sufficient to protect the passenger?

YES, air bags will provide additional safety, but when one would consider the scenario of a city driving condition with kids sitting in the front passenger seat. It really should be given a second thought "if Air Bag is a must have". Any opinions?

NOTE: I have seen some cars in the USA with on/off feature for the airbag and advice the driver to turn it off when kids (more than 40 lbs) sit in the front seat. Don't know if this is being offered here in India.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 10:58   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjrao View Post
Crumple zone + Collapsible Steering Column + Seat Belts
(Vs)
Air Bag.
Buddy, are you under the impression that the first is a substitude for the latter??

Collapsible steering and seat belts are compulsory on all Indian cars. Collapsible steering, in very, very simplistic terms means the steering assembly has no long rods which may pierce the driver in case of a head on collission.

Airbags are called "supplementary restraint systems" - helps the seat belts to keep you in place on your seat in case of collision. Airbags without seatbelts are very dangerous.

Quote:
... (don't know the minimum speed when air bag should inflate), if the airbag was to inflate. It might hurt the kid lot more than one would imagine without the airbag.
Hmm yes. You have a point there. Air bags inflate depending on the rate of deceleration, rather than on speed at which a vehicle is travelling. But there are reports on this forum where they activated at 35 or 50 Kmph.

Quote:
Highway driving:
Ok now leaving apart kids sitting on the front seat. Assuming only adults are seated with seat belts fastened. On long drives, at high speed, if a head on collision should occur, would the "Crumple Zone"+”collapsible Steering column”+”Seat belt” safety features not be sufficient to protect the passenger?

YES, air bags will provide additional safety, but when one would consider the scenario of a city driving condition with kids sitting in the front passenger seat. It really should be given a second thought "if Air Bag is a must have". Any opinions?
Your question translates to this - "against unquestionable advantage of protection afforded by airbags on highways, they can prove risky when theydeflate at low speeds while driving within city limits."

IMHO, you are realling starting that "are air bags safe" debate all over again!!!
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Old 3rd February 2008, 11:17   #3
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Dude, its a necessity nowadays to have all the safety features you have mentioned in the post. Most of the features you have mentioned comes a the standard fitment of all the cars.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 11:21   #4
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Hi BaCkSeAtDrIVeR,

Glad to see the first response. Thanks for the comments!!!!

I guess you are right that this thread might trigger the "are airbags safe" debate.

Yet, though one safety feature is not a "true" replacement of the other. I many be in certain conditions (* - probably at lower speeds etc etc... ).

Regards
cjrao.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 11:23   #5
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A couple of things:

First, I have seen an accident with a small child sitting in the front passenger's lap. The car (a Maruti Zen) got hit by a bus while both were travelling under 40kmph. The bus hit it from the rear left, causing it to turn sideways. Due to the shock, the child was thrown through the front passenger window. Fortunately, he was caught by someone standing at the side of the road waiting to cross. This illustrates how unsafe having small children sitting in the front passenger's lap can be, even on low speed collissions.

Second, I can add my own experience with a Swift ZXI, which I had for about a year. During that period, I got into a minor accident at about 30 kmph. The first time around, I got rear ended by a Tata 407 while standing still. In the second one, I was turning into a lane and a scorpio was reversing out of it. This one was at about 30 kph and I did feel a sudden jerk. However, the airbags didnt inflate. The side panel did crumple a bit though. IMHO, the airbags dont inflate at low speed collissions unless the jerk from it is strong enough to trigger them.

About your concern that collapsible steering collum + seat belts are enough, I'd like to point about the international oil companies' policies. They are quite manic about safety and spend a lot of money researching it. A lot of them inisist their employees travel in airbags equipped cars, even in India. An example is Shell (where I used to work). I haven't verified their research on the topic so cant honestly say that i know it to be true. That said, given how paranoid they are about safety, I dont think they would implement something which was dangerous in its own right.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:02   #6
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Jitendra, was reading your intro, and I notice you have driven quite a bit in the US. The practices & regulations followed there are sensible & practical.

With the background you have, how would you have answered this question, if some one else had asked this question ?
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:04   #7
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airbags definitely save lives, along with seat belts. i dont buy this city driving argument, unless u use the car only for groceries shopping. city driving too has dangers of high speed collisions.

OT: Shell India insists cars with airbags? for employee taxi? i am sure not everyone can afford cars with AirBags. how about bikes? they are more dangerous than space travel!
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:06   #8
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Hi Jaibir, Thanks for sharing that info dude. So, it really seems to be big improvement in the airbag technology.

Any idea, if an option is being provided my manufacturers in India to manually switch off or on the airbag at the driver's discretion.

Regards
cjrao.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Jitendra, was reading your intro, and I notice you have driven quite a bit in the US. The practices & regulations followed there are sensible & practical.

With the background you have, how would you have answered this question, if some one else had asked this question ?
Good question!!! Since there is no option for the driver to switch off a passenger airbag (or I may not be aware off this exactly), I am not entirely sure I would have an opinion one way or the other. Hence this post, seeking advice/opinion from all experts.

The real question I guess is, what would be the minimum criteria for a airbag to inflate?


Regards,
cjrao.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:19   #10
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
OT: Shell India insists cars with airbags? for employee taxi? i am sure not everyone can afford cars with AirBags. how about bikes? they are more dangerous than space travel!
They give almost every employee a 'car allowance' to cover purchase and upkeep of a compliant car. Employees are suppose to use this for official travel in the home city. They aren't allowed to use bikes or three wheelers.

I think we are OT so lets leave it here.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:29   #11
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Quote:
cjrao : Highway driving: ...at high speed, if a head on collision should occur, would the "Crumple Zone"+”collapsible Steering column”+”Seat belt” safety features not be sufficient to protect the passenger?
Seat belts = restraint system. To prevent passenger from being thrown to the front in the event of a sudden stop. Impact stop not required for seat-belt to come into action.

How will a crumple zone do this function ?
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:37   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjrao View Post
Imagine a family with lot of kids driving in the car. And the fact that most of them allow kids to sit on the co-driver's lap (or) even the kid himself sitting on the co-driver seat. AGREE being a responsible driver, it’s his/her responsibility to ensure that all passengers are seated safely. However, if it was to be short drive (may be pick up a ice cream or some thing of that sort) and you (being the driver) will let a kid sit on the front seat (passenger). Should a head on collision happen at a nominal speed (don't know the minimum speed when air bag should inflate), if the airbag was to inflate. It might hurt the kid lot more than one would imagine without the airbag.
If you go for ice cream in a western country, would you still allow your kid to sit in the front seat or secure him properly in the child seat?
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Old 3rd February 2008, 13:31   #13
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It is common sense that kids do not have to be sitting on the front seat where there are airbags. They have to be in the child seat (if sufficiently small) strapped up properly.

But in India ?? The above statement is a joke. In a country where people make their 5 year old sit in their laps when they are driving just to let him honk (of course the seat belt is hanging by the side) - you think seat belts, airbags, crumple zones, collapsible steering and pedal system is necessary ?? No.

the only security / safety system that works in this country is the picture / idol on the dash board.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 15:00   #14
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Originally Posted by normally_crazy View Post
the only security / safety system that works in this country is the picture / idol on the dash board.


!!!

TwentyTimes (Characters)!!
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Old 3rd February 2008, 15:59   #15
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What qualifies as "slow" speeds?

Ever hit a windscreen at 20Km/hr? 10Km/hr?

But normally_crazy is absolutely right: when a mother's arm is considered sufficient safety for a small child on a bike what hope do we have?

Without driver education and proper use, yes, airbags could be dangerous --- but figure that that child would be on its way out through the windscreen anyway.
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