Air bag v.s. no air bag

In case of an accident,by what percent does the safety factor go up or down if a car (Nissan 300zx , 1990 model) does not have any air bags. In this case the driver would be would be a 24 year old, young man, 6’5" tall.

Negligible if your wearing your seat belt. The airbag system on this car will only improve safety from square-on front end accidents. This car had no side impact bags, just the ones directly in front of you.

Consider that the “safety factor,” if there indeed such a number, is not much of a disincentive at all to someone who wishes to drive a 1990 Nissan 300ZX. Your chances of a head-on collision are quite small to begin with. Tweaking the number a tiny amount with the presence of an airbag ought not be a deterrent to driving the car.

In a number of studies, it’s been found that airbags do not reduce the risk of injury, but newer ones have shown that airbags can reduce the severity of injury. That said, a 1990 Nissan (and all cars prior to about 1995 or so) are equipped with one-stage airbags; that is, when a collision is detected, the airbags deploy full force. Various studies in the early 90’s have indicated that these one stage airbags can cause injuries that would not have happened if the airbag did not deploy (eg, broken or severed thumbs and fingers, chest and head injuries - there have even been cases of children being decapitated by an airbag.) Since 1995 or so, airbags have, generally, 2 stages, a severe collision deployment (which is still less forceful than older airbags) and a minor collision deployment, where the airbag deploys slightly later and at even less force.

So, the airbags in your car present little to no safety advantage over one without airbags. The most important things you can do are wear your seatbelt and not drive like a crazy person (I know, hard to do in a Nissan 300ZX, but still.)

My daughter drove her 90 Volks Rabbit off road into a tree her and my youngest daughter walked away becaues of the air bags, yes they had on the seat belts too. I sleep way better knowing the air bags are protecting them. Would highly recommend getting young people cars with them.

It depends on the speed at impact. A 3-point restraint system alone will not distribute the forces evenly. You will have one shoulder and your lap jerked back while the rest of you moves forward. This is not a big problem unless you are going fast. The air bag evens out the force over your entire upper torso and head. If you are in a head-on accident the air bag will reduce the likelihood of a broken neck or other serious injuries.

This is a contentious subject on this board. There are some who will never buy a vehicle with air bags because of the “danger”. I respect their choice. That being said, statistically your chances of SURVIVING an impact in an air bag equipped car are much greater than one without. If your objective is to avoid injury then DON"T CRASH. When people crash they get hurt. Air bags are not designed to prevent injury, they are there to prevent DEATH. They do not deploy if the collision is not frontal and they CAN cause injury and death (in a small number of short drivers sitting close to the steering wheel) and they can kill a child if you leave them in the front seat DESPITE all the warnings in the car, in the drivers manual, and all over the TV and internet. Ask any cop who “collected the pieces” in the days before air bags and they will tell you that air bags are nothing short of a miracle when it comes to saving lives.

Since the beginning NHTSA estimates 20,000 lives or more have been saved by airbags. In that same time airbags have killed 264 people. In 2005 2 people died as a result of airbags and neither were children. They continue to be safer and safer. So for those who refuse to buy a vehicle with airbags I urge you to keep your seatbelt tight and pray you never find yourself in a situation where an airbag could be the difference.

Factor of safety goes down however the percentage is debatable.

I believe that Bloody Knuckles summed things up very well, and I concur with his views 100%.

Rather than trying to quantify the exact margin of extra protection afforded by the “new generation” air bags, I think that it is sufficient to state that one is much less likely to suffer severe injuries in a vehicle equipped with air bags. Of course, nothing is foolproof, and the reckless driver will always be the one who causes most of the injuries–to himself and to others.

For those who say that you don’t need air bags if you drive safely, I ask:
What about the presence of reckless/dangerous/drunk/drug addicted drivers on the road?

No matter how cautious and defensive one’s driving may be, there is always that unpredictable factor involving other drivers who cut you off, tailgate, pass you on the shoulder of the road, drive at excessive speeds, weave in and out of traffic, run red lights, etc.

Having an air bag-equipped car can help to reduce your injuries in the event of a collision with one of those jerks, and rather than trying to quantify the exact extra margin of safety that air bags provide, I think that it is enough the know that these devices do save lives and do reduce the probability of serious injury.

Well, I never envisioned that I would have experienced this topic first-hand within the space of a few hours after my previous post in this thread. A little after noon today, I was a passenger in my friend’s '01 Accord when we were hit broadside by a Lexus SUV.

We were about to pull out of a gas station onto the highway, and were still on the gas station property, approaching the driveway. An out-of-control Lexus SUV came barreling down the shoulder and suddenly veered onto the grassy area adjacent to the road. She would have hit us in the area of the driver’s door if my friend had not hit the gas in an attempt to avoid her. As a result of him hitting the gas, we were hit just behind the rear door on the passenger side, and we were spun around about 45 degrees. The driver’s door and the passenger door on that side are now bucked and will not open. The left rear wheel is at such an angle that I am sure that various suspension components are damaged. The trunk lid cannot be closed. The car is not driveable and I suspect that it will be totaled by the insurance company.

Even though the impact was just behind the doors, the side airbag on the driver’s side deployed, as it should have, and I am sure that the fact that my friend sustained no injuries whatsoever is largely attributable to that side airbag that cushioned his impact with the door.

So, I can assure you that no matter how carefully you drive your own car, there is always the possibility of being hit by someone who can’t control his or her car. In this case, it turned out that my friend’s car was the second one that this woman hit. First, she rear-ended a Ford Escape, managed to steer around the Escape after hitting it, and then proceeded through a red light and wound up on the grass and then impacted with our car.

So, as much of a fan of air bags that I was previously, now I am even more firmly convinced that they are a great asset in terms of limiting injury.

ADDENDUM: The woman who hit us was ticketed for not having a valid insurance card in her possession. And, according to the lead police officer on the scene, because she claimed that her brakes failed, he is having her Lexus inspected by an independent mechanic. If it is determined that her brakes are functional, the officer will also ticket her for reckless driving. He stated that, if her brakes are found to be defective, he will ticket her for failure to maintain her vehicle.

Glad you and your friend are ok, VDC. And glad that the officer handling the crash is taking all the appropriate action.

I really hate this air-bag nonsense. Based on that logic, I suppose that I shouldn’t ride motorcycles, ski, climb mountains, cross against the lights, go swimming after lunch, use cell phones, skip my annual checkup (again), or leave my house in rainy weather (I might catch a cold). When, exactly, did americans become total wimps? I’m picturing nursing homes full of 100-year old americans who managed to avoid every potential danger for their entire lives and now can’t remember their names, what’s the point? Our grandparents generation would be falling over laughing at us.

The problem with air-bags isn’t their “danger” (although that’s probably a legitimate concern), the problem is that it’s one more mandated gadget that someone else decided is necessary to protect me. That is simply unacceptable.

I do want to point out that the vehicle in question, a 1990 Nissan 300ZX, has only driver’s side front airbag, single stage design. Although the airbag will improve survivability in a front impact accident only, the improvement will only be slightly higher than just wearing the seatbelt alone. This is a first-generation safety restraint system. No passenger side airbag, no side curtain airbag, and certainly not a multi-stage airbag.

I’m not knocking some of the other comments on the subject, but some of them are not really relevant to the OP’s question.

Jad–Yes we are both OK, thank God.

In re-reading my post from yesterday, I just realized that I stated that we were hit on the passenger side. In case that doesn’t seem to make sense–it doesn’t! We were actually hit just behind the rear door on the DRIVER’S side of the car. Now I realize just how shaken up I must have been by the accident since I screwed up this detail.

[quote]I really hate this air-bag nonsense. Based on that logic, I suppose that I shouldn’t ride

In 1975 45,000 people died in car wrecks every year. Today, with all the so-called safety features, 45,000 people still die every year…Yes, I suppose air-bags can reduce serious injuries in low to moderate speed accidents. But at todays interstate speeds, they make little difference in your survival chances, which are poor…If your driving skills are such that you tend to drive your car into trees or often find yourself in “head-on” situations, then buy a Volvo and wear a crash helmet at all times…

Howdy, after air bags first out two guys in brand new identical cars met on a hill top, I’d hate to think of the odds of this happening. Met at 65 mph on a hill top, head on crash. The state patrolman whom came to the scene hesitated seeing the wreck as he was sure he would have to view more bodies. When on man approached stating he called in the wreck and said we’re both ok No injuries! Both cars totaled. I’ve been a claims adjustor for a lot of years. Working for the company that insured both cars i saw the photos of the cars. It was head on no braking 65 mph… Air bags save lives… I saw some stats a while back about how over 90*? of salvaged cars have intact airbags and how much that has cost for non used saftey devices. Those two gentelmen repalaced both cars with new identical ones.

Based on that logic, I suppose that I shouldn’t ride motorcycles, ski, climb mountains, cross against the lights, go swimming after lunch, use cell phones, skip my annual checkup (again), or leave my house in rainy weather (I might catch a cold).

To what logic are you referring? Nobody said you “shouldn’t ride motorcycles, ski, climb mountains…” I do hope you don’t skip your annual checkup (again), but I would not want to force it upon you either. We are not debating whether or not airbags should be mandatory. We are discussing whether or not they add to safety.

When, exactly, did americans become total wimps?

Do you think I am a wimp because I wear a helmet and a crash jacket on a motorcycle? Do you think I am a wimp because I drive a car with airbags and wear a seltbelt? Does getting my annual physical make me a wimp in your view? If so, I seriously doubt you would have the nerve to call me a wimp face to face, not because of intimidation, but because face to face, I hope you might be more polite than you were in your post. I live my life my way. So if some faceless risk zealot thinks I am a wimp, I don’t really care.

My opinion is that air bags will protect your head and neck, which are not protected by a seatbelt. Extra protection can’t hurt.

Jeremy, I don’t think you are a wimp, and I think you should do whatever you like (as I should). Actually, I don’t much care what anyone else does. Personally, I’ll pass on the helmet (unless it’s raining pretty hard), crash jacket, air-bags, and annual physical (but I do normally wear seat-belts); are you in favor of mandating any of those things for everyone else?

I was not intending to refer to individuals (who should be free to do what they like) as wimps, but the american society which seems to have become a self-appointed baby sitter for everyone. Last time I was in a NY state park, there were actually signs requiring bicyclists to wear helmets, please. What ever happened to letting people make their own decisions? Sorry if that was off topic.

With regard to air-bags “adding to safety,” I am still not convinced of the cost/benefit of air-bags in vehicles. In other words, if it costs an extra $1000 to buy and air-bag equipped car (I’m not sure of the actual amount), can you make a case that spending that $1000 is always the best way to “buy more safety” for that individual? Who decided that he/she should use that $1000 for an airbag to protect against a very low probability accident, or if their is a better way to use that resource? Just maybe, he/she would be better of buying an extra $1000 worth of fruits and vegetables for his/her family, or having an EKG performed, or buying $1000 worth of medication to help quite smoking, etc. Maybe $1000 isn’t a big deal to you or I, but it is a significant expense to some people. My point is that this should be an individual decision, and there is not a single correct answer for everyone.