More than 52% of the 207 million cars and light trucks on American roadways have driver air bags, and more than 81 million also have passenger air bags.
Airbags are now standard in most automobiles and trucks. While airbags do save lives, they can also cause major problems. An airbag deploys from the dashboard of an automobile at up to 200 miles per hour, anyone who is close enough to the bag can get hurt.
Air bags are automatic crash-protection systems that deploy or inflate quicker than the blink of an eye. Starting in model year 1998, the government required that all new passenger cars be equipped with dual air bags (on the driver and passenger sides). Starting in model year 1999, all new light trucks were required to have dual air bags. Driver and passenger side air bags are designed to deploy in moderate to severe frontal and near-frontal crashes when they encounter a force equal to striking a brick wall head-on at 10 to 15 miles per hour or colliding with a similar sized vehicle at 20 to 30 miles per hour.