Are side airbags (SABs) mandatory for new vehicles?

Currently, side airbags are not required by law for new vehicles. However, in the future, manufacturers will be required to offer updated protection performance. It is estimated that side airbags can reduce serious chest injuries in collisions by approximately 25%.

Side airbags

Imagine the following scenario: a driver and front passenger are speeding through the City streets and run a red light. A woman driving through a green light has her car struck on the passenger's side by the speeding car.

This situation is an example of a broadside hit or T-bone collision. In such a crash, the side of the hit car can be pushed in so far that the door almost reaches the centerline of the car. The driver and passengers in the hit car will be seriously injured or may not survive.

The necessity of a properly installed side airbag is essential for driver safety. In a head-on collision, there are several feet of steel and glass to absorb the force of the impact before it reaches the occupants. In contrast, in a side collision, there are only a few inches before impact with the driver or passenger. Different types of side airbags are available:

  • Torso airbags. These airbags can be installed either on the seat or door of the car and typically only protect the torso from a collision. Some car models offer side torso airbags in the back, as well.
  • Curtain airbags. This airbag deploys from the car's ceiling to protect the heads of occupants.

However, these safety features are not yet required by U.S. law. So, before you purchase a car, either new or used, make sure that it comes with functioning airbags. Also, when choosing between a new or used car, keep in mind that NHTSA statistics show that newer cars and trucks have the best safety rating.

How can The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary help you?

According to "Unlike front airbags, SABs are not required by NHTSA. Because they are not required safety equipment, the federal government does not mandate that vehicles be equipped with SABs. NHTSA has recently proposed an upgrade to the federal standard for side impact protection. The standard establishes occupant protection performance requirements but does not mandate particular technologies to meet those requirements. Manufacturers may meet this upgraded rule with various types of innovative head, chest, and pelvis protection systems, such as SABs."

If you were injured by an airbag after being involved in a car crash, bring your case to the attention of our product liability lawyer.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.