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Air Bag Safety

The Cheapest Auto Insurance companies such as IFA Auto like to offer a wide range of information on safety issues. After all, proper car maintenance, safe driving tips, as well as how to save on insurance premiums, are all part of the process that keep you well-informed and operating a motor vehicle responsibly and safely. To that end, as one of the leading insurance companies in NJ we are committed to offering the most current and accurate information possible to our policy holders. Air bag safety is one such topic.

Safe Air Bag Use

It has been statistically documented for decades that air bags save thousands of lives each year, reducing deaths by as much as 30% for drivers and 27% for passengers in frontal crashes alone. These statistics have been compiled and tabulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and continue to hold steady.

With some safety equipment, risks can also be associated and this remains true for air bag use as well. Because air bags deploy rapidly and with great force to protect the body, that force can also potentially do harm to infants, small children and some adults, pregnant women and the elderly. Infants can be particularly vulnerable when placed in the front seat. It is the primary reason that insurance carriers, including the cheapest auto insurance companies such as IFA, warn drivers to place infants in rear-facing safety seats in the back to prevent head injuries or death.

Preventing Air Bag Injuries

First and foremost, if you have a defective airbag or it has been previously deployed or stolen, you must replace it as soon possible. IFA Auto will reimburse this expense under the comprehensive portion of your insurance policy.

Second, always have small children sit in the backseat in car seats or age-appropriate booster chairs and wearing a safety belt. Infant car seats should face the back window. Small adults in the front should move their seat back to ensure the breastbone is a minimum of 10 inches from the air bag cover.

If this is not possible, the NHTSA implemented a provision in 1998 that allows auto dealers and repair shops to install a safety switch that the vehicle owner can turn off or on, depending on driver size and use. The 4-step process to qualify for the on-off airbag switch is listed below:

  1. Obtain an information brochure and NHTSA request form from your dealer or area repair shop
  2. Fill out and return application form to NHTSA
  3. Once received, the NHTSA will review your case
  4. Upon approval, take the vehicle to the service shop of your choice along with the authorization form, establishing you understand and have met at least one of NHTSA’s criteria as listed below:
    • A rear-facing infant seat can in the front if no rear seat exists
    • The driver’s seat cannot be adjusted to meet the 10-inch minimum requirement
    • Sitting a child 12 years old or younger cannot be avoided
    • An established medical condition that puts at risk if the air bag deploys.