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Since September 1, 2006, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) has required all passenger cars and light trucks to install advanced frontal airbags (AFAB). The AFAB is the latest generation that is designed to be more effective at saving the lives of vehicle occupants.

First generation front airbags helped to save thousands of lives, but they were also responsible for injuring and killing some front passengers. By the time the federal government mandated airbags for all new vehicles in 1998, a second-generation airbag system was used.

However, it was not until the 2003 model year that the third generation of airbags (the AFAB) was installed. The federal government mandated that all vehicles come standard with AFABs for the 2007 model year.

Are Advanced Frontal Airbags Safe?

An AFAB is safer, because it uses advanced sensing devices that help determine what level of power the airbag should deploy. The AFAB system factors in many variables, including:

  • The size and weight of an occupant.
  • Whether the occupant is wearing a seatbelt.
  • How far back the occupant is sitting.
  • The severity of the collision.

The electronic control unit (ECU) can deploy airbags with less force by determining the severity of a crash.

Older model airbags did not consider these variables. This meant they would deploy at full force. This could be dangerous for smaller occupants, because the full force could cause more harm than good.

Although airbags are designed to keep us safe, remember that they can still malfunction due to a manufacturer error. Sometimes these defects can cause serious injury or death. Recently in the news, many car manufacturers have had to issue recalls involving a possible safety defect with Takata brand airbag inflators.

Did You Know? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in 2012, there were 190 million air-bag-equipped passenger vehicles on the road.

The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney


The Law Offices of Aaron Allison