1. #1
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    rmoore's Avatar
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    Default Feet on Dash Airbag Deployment

    Received a request from an Atlanta-area firefighter. He's asking if anyone has experience in an unusual airbag deployment injury situation.

    "In my travels around town I am amazed at how many people seem to think that the car manufacturer's designed their dashboard to be used as a foot rest. I have only seen a picture of the results to someone's feet and legs after the passenger side airbags deployed. I did not see the rest of the car to gauge the underlying M.O.I. It was obvious the patient had much greater issues after having their legs embedded in the laminated windshield. It is quite possible the initial impact was a result of a low speed collision caused by someone following too closely ( standard driver operating procedures in this city).

    What I am seeking from you is a list of facts that I can use when I speak to a member of the local media as he does an expose on this "phenomenom". I would like to know the following: 1) average speed of typical front passenger airbag.
    2) lowest rate of speed for the front airbag sensors to deploy after impact
    3) average force of airbag placed on feet or knees sitting on dash
    4) pictures of this type of injury- or pictures of windshield after incident took place

    Any experience out there with this situation?
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
    www.universityofextrication.com

  2. #2
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    Not exactly regarding feet on the dashboard, but we did work a wreck several years ago involving a Ford Mustang where the front seat passenger received moderate lacertions to her face. The reason? That model of Mustang (probably mid to late 90's) had a recessed groove just below the passenger side airbag panel, about 1/2" wide, that the driver discovered was just the right width to hold a couple of cassette tapes. Air bags deployed, tape cases were propelled into the face of the passenger and smashed, resulting in lacerations.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  3. #3
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    I also have noted the tendency of some people to put dumb things on the dash, but especially their feet. I have always gotten their attention - if practical - and asked them what they think would happen to their legs and face if the airbag decided to introduce them to each other at 300 MPH, and have found they universally go "oh my I never thought of that!".

    However, Ron, in specific answer to your question I have not yet seen this happen where a bag deployed while feet were on/above it. Closest was a driver taking a bite of his burger when the bag smacked him. Knocked some teeth loose with his hand, some lacerations, might have broken his hand, but I especially remember the hamburger bits that had been splattered and stuck in various places... looked a lot worse than it was.
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
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    I A C O J

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    I have not had feet on the dash. However I did have a guy that had his sterio stolen. so instead of getting a new sterio he decided to velcro a battery operated radio about 7" x7" onto the front of the dash. He didnt stop quick enough and needless to say his girlfriend was a mess. Broken nose, jaw(both sides),occular orbit and loss of 4 teeth.messy messy messy

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    Default feet on dash

    I worked an accident on Interstate 10 about 2 years ago invovling a mini van vs. Deer. Upon arrival we found a 17 year old male in the passenger front seat. The only damage to the vehicle as a broken head light and housing on the front right and broken plastic on the bumper facia. The mother/driver stated she had seen several deer in a group and slowed to approx. 35mph but one deer darted across and was struck by the van.
    The male passenger was seat belted, but had his feet on the dash and the airbag deployed. Both femurs were broken midshaft. He resembled a christmas turkey. He was extricated and survived. The state trooper secured a ride to the hospital for the driver/mother and the rear passenger who was the grandmother, none of which reported any injuries. The grandmother had a massive heart attack in the emergency room two hours later and died.

    The drivers airbag also deployed, but did not cause injury to the driver.

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