German company ZF has announced one of its latest innovations, the exterior airbag. Unlike other car airbags that deploy inside the vehicle, this one bursts out from under the side of the car door just before impact. The hope is that exterior airbags will chip away at the high rate of injuries and deaths due to side impact accidents.
Side Crashes by the Numbers
When the side of a car hits or is hit by another object, the minimal space between the impact point and the passenger tends to react by giving in rather than resisting the force. Known as a crumple zone, the reason this zone tends to give in easily is its limited infrastructure.
Consequently, side impact accidents lead to high likelihood of trauma to vehicle occupants. According to reports from 2017, side impact crashes made up about a quarter of all car accident passenger fatalities in the United States. The exterior airbag promises to put a dent in the number of people hurt during roadway collisions.
As one ZF executive explained, the supplier’s research indicates an exterior airbag can lessen the chances of a crash passenger being seriously hurt by as much as 40 percent. This figure is based on the company’s own live testing. If ZF’s numbers are accurate, thousands of accident victims annually could potentially walk away from crashes instead of being killed or significantly impaired.
Added Exterior Airbag Protection
Interior vehicle airbags tend to deploy when collision occurs. Exterior airbags rely on lidar and radar sensors to judge when impact is inevitable. When a car’s system predicts a crash based on pre-programmed computer software models, the system will send a message to inflate the exterior airbag.
The process to determine whether or not to deploy the exterior airbag takes milliseconds. Although the exterior airbag may have around eight times more volume than an interior airbag, its inflation remains lightning-fast. Not only may it save passengers from having the door crumple against them, but it can also reduce damage to the vehicle itself.
Looking Forward at Exterior Airbags
At this point, ZF has only released information about its newest option in the car safety marketplace. No car manufacturers have agreed to include an exterior airbag on any of their vehicles at this point.
Despite this fact, ZF believes that within the next four years, exterior airbags could be included on at least some vehicle models. Frontal interior airbags have been standard equipment on all vehicles since 1998.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight for Crash Victims’ Right to Compensation
If you or someone you care about has been hurt by a side crash or other type of car accident, please contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today to schedule a free consultation. Our team can be reached at 215-569-8488 or 302-888-1221 or online through our contact form.
We represent injured accident victims in Chester County and Delaware County, Pennsylvania from our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey. We also have offices in Wilmington to assist clients in Newark, Middletown, and throughout the state of Delaware.