Should airbags have gone off?

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Juliana, May 3, 2015.

  1. Juliana

    Juliana New Member

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    Last April my car was totaled in an accident. I was completely stopped in traffic when a box truck drove into my car, pushing me into the car stopped in front of me, and then off the road. The head rest on my seat was twisted half off and one of its legs bent towards my head. None of the airbags were deployed. The car crinkled up so that anyone else in the car would not have been as lucky as I was. This was my favorite car owned but I could not get it again and feel safe in it. Every side of the car was hit. Shouldn't there have been airbag deployment? How can they claim safety headrests when it just barley pierced my head?
     

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  2. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Each airbag is designed to deploy only in the type and strength of collision where it would be a benefit. Some will fire in strong (not weak) frontal collisions, some in side collisions. None are positioned to help when you get rear-ended, so they should not fire for that.

    The right hand side doesn't show any sign of a major side impact. Your pictures don't show the front and left sides.

    Did you suffer any injuries because the airbags did not deploy? If not, then they were not intended to fire. Do remember that airbags deploy with enough force to cause some injury in themselves, so it is in your best interest that they not fire without very good reason.

    I had a slow front end collision in a 1990s car where the seatbelts alone were sufficient to protect us. The airbags did not fire. Then my 2010 Prius was at the front of a chain reaction that wrecked the front of the striking car, did a lot of damage to the middle car, and bashed my bumper. Nobody's airbags fired, the striking car had slowed enough to protect the carload of teen girls with seatbelts alone. All of them (except the driver, who had to deal with police) were able to continue to their volleyball game once the officer released them to a responding parent.

    Crashes such as you experienced are the reason I'm trying to convince my spouse to retire her 1989 Integra. Had you been driving that, you would not be able to post your query.
     
    #2 fuzzy1, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
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  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I've seen pictures, had friends and family members even, in different wrecks with different vehicles and it can seem enigmatic. Sometimes it can seem that you can have quite a lot of impact and damage with no airbag deployment, I worked with a guy that accidently hit a dog and had his airbags go off. The dog lived, their was barely a scatch on the vehicle?

    So I don't feign to know what to tell you. That appears to be a lot of damage, but as pointed out airbag systems today are pretty sophisticated. If the original impact was from behind? It is quite possible the vehicle was reacting as designed.

    Since you lived and it actually seems that the vehicle did do it's job in ultimately protecting you, it's too bad you've lost confidence in the model. But I can understand. At best any similar vehicle is only going to remind you of this incident.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    seems to me, if you hit the car in front hard enough, they should have. glad you're okay, these cars are very safe.

    good question, i wonder which is more dangerous?or the suspect headrest.
     
  5. mahout

    mahout Active Member

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    absolutely. as an engineer that has tested airbags your car experienced enough impacts to set off the sensors.
    since they didn't, I suggest you contact the National Highway Traffic Administration to file a report.
    It could be your airbags were manufactured by Takata who is in severe trouble with manufacturing defective airbags, mostly for projectiles on activating, but also for failing to activate. The sensors that set off airbags are sensitive enough and programmed to signal at about a half g, or an impact that accelerates or decelerates the vehicle at about 16 ft per sec per second and your description certainly appears to do that - twice.
    as for the headrest that also should be investigated by NHTSA and by the insurance group that monitors NHTSA - IIHS or something like that. there is no reason for the headrest to deform that badly when airbags failed to deploy - or otherwise for that matter.
     
  6. Sean Nelson

    Sean Nelson Active Member

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    The front collision would have taken place some time after the initial rear collision. I wonder if the airbag system is programmed not to deploy in those conditions just in case the initial collision could have caused damage that would render an airbag deployment dangerous?
     
  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I also wonder how hard the frontal collision was. OP did not provide a picture of the front end to show how much damage it sustained. As noted earlier, I've witnessed cases involving substantial front end damage, but occurring slow enough that seatbelts were plenty sufficient, so the front airbags did not fire.
     
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  8. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    My question would be when the OP say's "Every Side Was Hit" does that mean every side actually suffered an impact or simply that theres is visible damage on all sides?

    Because from the pictures it looks like a horrible rear end collison, But the rear end absorbed most of the impact and crumpled as it is suppose to do.

    I surely could be wrong. But I'm still of the mind that the vehicle reacted exactly as designed.
     
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  9. Easy Rider 2

    Easy Rider 2 Senior Member

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    This is excellent advice but ONLY if the car is still available in it's unaltered wrecked condition.
    Might want to contact Toyota too.

    Does "last April" mean last month or last year ??
     
  10. c4

    c4 Active Member

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    I would be much more concerned that from your description, the headrest failed in a manner that could have caused extreme injury..
     
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  11. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I agree with this.
    Given the description, and the fact that despite horrific outside damage it appears the vehicle did absorb impact and "crumple" in a protective manner, the MOST disturbing aspect to me isn't that the airbags didn't deploy as much as the failure of the headrest.

    That's what would concern me the most.
     
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  12. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    :(
     
    #12 WE0H, May 9, 2015
    Last edited: May 19, 2015
  13. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    First off, glad you are OK. Secondly the car looks like it crumpled perfectly. The front passenger compartment looks excellent, the roof is not dented there, it doesn't look misaligned, nothing like that. It appears that the car saved your life big time. That alone warrants a huge appreciation for the safety of the car, the exact opposite approach you have taken.

    As to why your air-bags didn't go off, it is because they should not have. If you are stopped, airbags will not go off. Period. If you are rear ended, they should also never go off. Unless you were rear-ended then launched into the vehicle infront of you at greater than 14mph, don't expect airbags. And even then, the car infront probably crumpled too, so 14mph is too low a number, probably closer to 30mph. 14mph is into a concrete barrier that doesn't move at all.

    As for the headrest, we need pics of that. How it even got from resting to have any spike is unknown... Was it pulled up really high or something? I have seen people do that all the time where their head is resting inbetween the headrest cushion and the seat cushion, right next to the metal. I have no idea why people do this, but the question needs to be asked.

    [​IMG]

    CRASHES WHERE THE AIR BAG SHOULD NOT DEPLOY

    Your air bags should not deploy in those accidents where they will not prevent your injuries. After all, air bags can deploy at speeds of more than 200 mph, and you should not be exposed to those kinds of forces if it won’t help you. Thus, your frontal air bags should not deploy in side impacts, rear impacts and rollovers where there is no significant deceleration from front to back. Other examples of crashes where your frontal air bags should not generally deploy include:

    • Minor frontal crashes
    • Most impacts to the undercarriage of the vehicle, such as when crossing a railroad, unless they would result in serious personal injury
    • Impacts with animals such as deer or dogs
    • Impacts with street curbs or parking blocks
    • Driving on rough roads, including those with large potholes, gravel or bumps

    Link: My Airbag Did Not Deploy-What Went Wrong? - The Air Bag Blog | Rudnitsky Law Firm
     
  14. mahout

    mahout Active Member

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    Don't know where you got hat chart but it is false. The sensors that signal airbags to deploy are accelerometers so speed is not an factor.
    Accelerometers sense the acceleration or deceleration of the sensor; generally the sensor activates when the structure on which it is mounted changes speed by 16 ft per second in a second.( 0.5 g where the acceleration of our earth gravity is 32.16 fps/ps) Its not hard to generate that change in speed even at 1 mph. If you change speed from 1 mph to one-half mph in one hundredth of a second you generate 73 fps per second deceleration. That''s 2.5 "g"s and very easy to do.. It only takes 15 g to have a 50% chance of you dying as a result and why you can fall off your bike, hit your head, and die.. Few vehicle designers want you to not have air bags deploy at changes in speed greater the 0,5 g, or 16.1 fps per second. Besides, the lawyers would flood the courts with claims and you couldn't afford a car.
    but as your crash impact extends in time the less deceleration rate that occurs so you can tap a bumper but not deploy airbags. But the damage shown doesn't appear to be that lengthy; much shorter in time so the air bags should have deployed.
    Again, see if the air bags were manufactured by Takata; in that case there is a good chance they are defective. Takata might go out of business as a result of the severe defects found in their airbags and is a major supplier to Honda resulting in great financial expenditures to correct and pay for damages..
     
    #14 mahout, May 12, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  15. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Glad you are okay! Wow that is scary looking, but it does look like the car deformed in a manner that protected you. As to the head restraint bending did something in the backseat or trunk coming flying into the headrest to cause it to bend a leg? Glad I have the one piece seats!
     
  16. Juliana

    Juliana New Member

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    First I want to thank everyone for the feedback. I guess the whole thing has shaken me up since April 2014 when it happened. I figured this was a place where I could get my feelings out there. (No I am not trolling and taking pics from a scrap yard haha). I can't pretend I understand much about how all the little details in a cars reactions to an accident are. I just really feel that I was very lucky considering how the car ended up.
    I should add that my seat (the drivers) gave out and reclined along with the twisted head rest. I'm not sure why the seat fell back, but when the car stopped I was in my seat, laying back, looking at the roof with pieces of the back of the car (metal, plastic, glass) around me and the headrest bent. I agree the car crumpled well which helped me, but that would not have been the case for anyone in the backseat.
     

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  17. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    From that picture it’s pretty clear that airbags shouldn’t have gone off. And it wouldn’t have helped you if they would have. But the seat breaking is another story…
     
  18. WE0H

    WE0H Senior Member

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    Was the driver a heavy person?

    Mike
     
  19. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    I was wondering the same, but didn't want to ask. :p
     
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  20. Juliana

    Juliana New Member

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    Haha. I may not be a skinny but I most def would not be considered heavy.
     
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