Received a question from a Washington State Fire Department concerned about a Ford Contour crash where the frontal airbags did not deploy.
Here's the question-
"We were reviewing an accident we responded to this morning and we were discussing why the airbags did not deploy in this accident.
Could you please possibly shed some light on it for us?
Situation: Roll over accident with ejection. Female driver in very critical condition at the time of this e-mail. The vehicle was a 1999 Ford Contour. The vehicle traveled over 75 yards before it came to a rest. It struck and sheered off a telephone pole and it sheered off a approx. 8 inch diameter tree about 8 feet off of the ground. The vehicle came to rest on it's top against another large tree. The vehicle's battery was thrown from the vehicle where it landed and split into two (right next to the patient's head). There were no obvious signs of braking prior to the vehicle leaving the roadway. The driver's side front strut, tire and wheel were torn off of the frame and thrown from the vehicle.
Whatever insight you could provide us with would be very helpful. Thank you for your time.
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03-14-2001, 12:57 PM #1rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Answers to Why the Airbag Did Not Deploy
03-14-2001, 03:27 PM #2rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Here's my reply-
Although your Contour received extensive damage, it appears to me that the dynamics
of the crash never caused the front of the vehicle to receive a sudden deceleration
force. You need an instantaneous force equivalent to a 17mph collision with a
fixed object to deploy most new generation frontal airbags.
As I review the vehicle images, I note that although the passenger front wheel is
missing, the front end is not really crumpled. The plastic bumper and trim is torn off, not crushed. The driver's fender is relatively intact. You don't see the folding and jack-knife of the hood or crumpling of the front end, fenders, engine compartment, etc typical of a head-on crash.
I just think the impacts were side directional and never added up to a true head-on that the frontal airbags needed to deploy.
Makes us stop and consider how important battery shutdown is in this type of situation. Your Contour wound up on its' roof in a front yard of a home. the passenger door opened normally.
Have you considered how you would have accessed the battery if your patient were trapped inside? You should be duplicating this in rollover battery shutdown challenge in
training and working out your solutions.
Headlight access to battery, fender access, or
access through the undercarriage are your solutions. Roll a car upside down and work out the details of battery access an shutdown in training.
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