The Hidden Seat Cushion Airbag That Can Kill If It Is Not Replaced After A Car Accident
An innovative seat cushion airbag designed to prevent people from sliding or “submarining” under their lap belts in a car wreck is a hidden secret.
It’s unclear if DTC diagnostic scanners are programed to detect the presence of this seat cushion airbag and whether or not it is connected to sensors.
As of this writing, we have found it in Toyota’s 2012 and later.
We plan to run a test at our Crash Lab to make that determination.
I have examined thousands of vehicles in my crashworthiness law practice over the past thirty-years and never knew that an airbag existed under seat cushions in some vehicles.
In the meantime, I want to urge the collision repair industry to physically check seat cushions for the presence of an airbag.
I also want to urge the Car Insurance bullies to start paying for DTC scans.
Diagnostic scans should show if all of the airbags are connected to sensors.
A growing number of cases with catastrophic injuries caused by not reconnecting all of the airbags after a repair are coming into our Crash Lab.
The drivers had no idea that they and their passengers were in jeopardy because the warning light on their vehicle’s dashboard typically does not show the status of all of the airbags.
Stephen Syson, the father of the airbag at General Motors, warns that it is common that only the front seat airbags are wired to the warning light on the dashboard.
The warning light alone cannot be trusted to indicate that all of the vehicle’s airbags are working.
We’ve had cases in which side curtain airbags did not deploy in accidents because the devices had not been reconnected to sensors after a repair.
Those side curtain airbags were not wired to the dashboard fault light.
Thus, it is imperative to run a pre and post repair DTC scan.
If you prefer to read, here’s a transcript of Todd’s Video:
Hello. I’m Vehicle Safety Attorney Todd Tracy and I’m here at my Crash Lab in Dallas, Texas and I want to talk to you today about a phenomenon known as “submarining under your lap belt”.
In a frontal impact, what happens to the body when they have their seatbelt on, their lap and shoulder belt on, if the pelvis rotates out from underneath the lap belt, the pelvis can slide forward on the seat. The lap belt can get over the hard, bony structures of the pelvis and can literally slice into the abdominal wall, all the way to the back of the spine.
We have been seeing an influx of submarining type of injuries to the inter-abdominal area as well as the lower spine and believe it or not, we just learned of a new safety feature that’s being used in vehicles today and we found it by accident.
What we see in this particular vehicle is a seat with the cushion in place. When we raise the cushion up, you will notice that there’s actually an airbag positioned under the seat cushion. What this is designed for, it’s called an “anti-submarining seat cushion” or an “anti-sliding seat cushion”. What happens is as the buttocks begin to slide forward, the airbag deploys and raises this big area of the cushion up as much as five inches. That creates this huge ramp or a barrier, so that the pelvis can no longer slide forward.
This was created and used in France in 2002. In 2008, it was utilized by Toyota in some of their vehicles in Japan and beginning in 2012, they started using it in the US market. This anti-submarining seat cushion is a critical safety system that needs to be used in all vehicles. But the problem is no one knows that this is out there.
So here’s the question. Do the repair shops know that there is even an airbag that needs to be replaced when they don’t see the airbag gets fired? Because we’ve already fired this one. You cannot tell that this seat has a seat bag in it.
If that’s the case, how many vehicles out there have been involved in accidents? The seat cushion airbag has fired and now people are riding around with a deployed seat cushion airbag so that there will be no safety protection when that vehicle is involved in a future accident.
This is a critically important safety system that needs to be advertised and there needs to be a way to determine if in fact the seat cushion airbag has fired so it can be replaced.
[End of transcript]
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