April 10, 2010: The recent NY Times article which found that 50% of NHTSA complaints are related to airbags reminded me of an excellent article by Joe Marsh: Supplemental Air Bag Restraint Systems: Consumer Education and Experience. I originally saw it back in 1993 in the SAE Automotive Engineering International magazine. It apparently was also published as a paper: SAE paper 930646. Well worth the $16 paper price.
Although written in 1993, apparently things have not changed as far as consumer perception of the function of the airbag. Note in 2010 consumer complaints still are 50% related to the airbag! some 17 years after this article was written and the following included in the Marsh article: Abstract: : The success of modern-day supplemental air bag systems is clear, but key challenges remain. Complaints and misconceptions about air bag systems can result when customers do not understand how the systems function. Field investigation remains critical to both the automotive industry and the research community's understanding of real-world occupant restraint system performance. Field experience has suggested that the combination of safety belts and air bags can provide the best overall risk reduction, but only if safety belts are used, and used properly
And a portion of the CONCLUSIONS: Clearly some customers’ misconceptions and complaints about air bag performance and function are based on a lack of understanding of real-world air bag operations. The safety community faces the challenge of recognizing the need for and helping to educate the public. Field experience involving air bag-equipped vehicles will also present fresh challenges for both field investigators and medical personnel as they observe new and unique passive occupant restraint systems, occupant complaints, and injury patterns. The automotive industry is experiencing a major challenge of continuing to meet its goals and the customers’ demands, particularly in the safety arena. The need to monitor customer concerns and how these relate to the performance of products in the realworld leads to the primary challenge in the field today - the safety community must vigorously pursue the investigation and analysis of real-world field experience.
The critical need to promote the proper use of safety belts continues.
Topics and News related to Vehicle Safety Issues such as New Technologies and Recalls
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