'Crash Course' Quick Drill Series - Part V

In the past, any one vehicle either has door airbags or seat airbags, not both. This was the system we could count on until now.Roof-mounted airbags are designed to protect an occupant's head in a side collision. The other style of side impact airbags...


In the past, any one vehicle either has door airbags or seat airbags, not both. This was the system we could count on until now.

Roof-mounted airbags are designed to protect an occupant's head in a side collision. The other style of side impact airbags, designed to protect the occupant's torso, are either located in the doors above the armrests or in the outboard edges of the seatbacks. In the past, any one vehicle either has door airbags or seat airbags, not both. This was the system we could count on until now.

For the first time ever, we have a vehicle with four side airbags in different locations. Mercedes, torso side airbags were always in the doors. Now, on the new Mercedes E-Class sedans, the side impact torso airbags are located in the seats for the front occupants while the rear torso airbags (an option) are located inside the rear doors. There is also a full-length roof airbag system on the vehicle as well.

In the event of a collision into the side of a Mercedes E-320 sedan for example, torso side airbags inflate within a few split seconds to cover the area between the occupant and the door up to chest height. Although deployed side impact airbags would not be a safety concern to responders, the scene presented to you would be airbags hanging out of the rear door panels while the front seat on the impact side would have a deployed bag along the edge of the seatback.

For this Crash Course Quick Drill, responders should locate a new Mercedes E-class model car and survey its' airbag installations. Observe the rear trunk lip on the driver's side to determine what class and model Mercedes vehicle you are examining. If you see E-320 in chrome trim for example, the 'E' indicates E-class and the number 320 indicates the model vehicle.

With a 2004 or newer model E-class Mercedes, locate the airbag IDs for the roof airbags, the seat-mounted torso airbags, and the optional rear door torso airbags if present.

Crash Course Teaching Point:

  • When Scanning for Side-Impact Airbags, Scan the Roof, All Seats, and All Doors.

Be Informed...Be Ready...Beware!