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Here’s Why a Car’s Airbags are Useless if You Don’t Put on Your Seatbelt

By: Manav Sinha

News18.com

Last Updated: September 05, 2022, 12:42 IST

Delhi, India

Image used for representation. (Photo: Global NCAP)

Image used for representation. (Photo: Global NCAP)

With the focus on car safety revolving mostly around the number of airbags in the car, seatbelts are the key to safety

Over the years, the importance of car safety has risen amongst those buying a new car. Arguably, it has become almost as important as the fuel economy obsession. As a result, it has pushed automakers to provide safer cars for the Indian market. One way to achieve that trust from the buyers that their car is “safe” has been through the introduction of airbags in all cars they sell. A big credit for this goes to the government of India which has mandated dual airbags, seat belt reminders, and rear parking sensors on all cars, irrespective of their price. However, the airbags provided in the car are useless if the occupants are not wearing their seatbelts.

In order to make the car occupants safe, the seatbelts and airbags work together, and having one without the other significantly decreases the safety of occupants in case of a crash. Both these elements are meant to restrain the occupant in their position in case of a crash and prevent them from flying into things like the dashboard and causing fatal injuries. While the seatbelt holds you in place, the airbag deploys to cushion your head and chest from forwarding impact. Some higher-spec cars come with knee airbags and even curtain airbags which are meant to protect the occupant from side impact. One of the latest innovations in car safety has been an airbag that is fitted into the seatbelt itself and is offered on cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

But keep in mind, that the primary restraint is the seat belt and not the airbag. And if you were to get into a collision hard enough to deploy the airbag while you were seated without a seatbelt, then the resulting injury could come out to be even more severe.

The same goes for rear seat passengers as well. They too are provided with three-point seatbelts and should be worn at all times. The death of Cyrus Mistry, the former Chairman of Tata Group, brings back to focus the importance of seatbelt. Mistry was killed in a 5-star Euro NCAP crash test-rated car but is said to be travelling without a seatbelt at the back, at the time of the accident.

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To give you a perspective, driver-side airbags have been mandatory in India since July, 2019. Front passenger-side airbag, on the other hand, became mandatory starting April 2021.

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first published:September 05, 2022, 12:42 IST
last updated:September 05, 2022, 12:42 IST