Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney
You Don't Pay Unless We Recover 401-453-2700
Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / Knee Airbags Do More Harm Than Good

Knee Airbags Do More Harm Than Good


When you get in your car, you may already know that you’re surrounded by airbags. Today’s cars have airbags for drivers and passengers, and airbags that protect your front and side from impact.

But there are also airbags farther down below, where your legs are. They’re knee airbags, and although on the surface they seem like a great safety feature, in reality, they really don’t do as much as you’d think when it comes to keeping you safe.

Why Knee Airbags are in Cars

Imagine a human body in a car seat, that is in an impact from the front. As the car collides with an object or another car, the occupants’ bodies are thrust forward. That includes the lower half of the occupants bodies, including the knees. Because of the knees’ proximity to the steering when and lower dashboard area, they often bear the brunt of any major impact.

Worse, in more serious accidents, any kind of intrusion in the passenger cabin by the collapsing car, will immediately crush the knees, and the bones in the legs.

Knee airbags are designed to cushion the legs and lower body from this kind of impact. They also are designed to protect the upper body as well—if the legs have a cushion that keeps them from being thrust forward, so too will the upper body be stopped from going forward, into the steering column and the dashboard.

Not What They’re Sold to Be

But it turns out that these knee airbags aren’t working so well—in fact, they may actually be leading to more, or more serious, injuries. In tests that measured partial frontal impact, dummies’ lower legs sustained more injuries when knee airbags were used.

In fact the US government has said that most knee airbags simply don’t prove enough energy absorption to make them effective. Statistical analysis shows no significant statistical difference in injuries when knee airbags are available, then when they are not.

There are even news reports of serious damage to people’s lower legs because of the airbags—damage that arguably would not have been sustained without the airbags deploying. Airbags, even when operating normally, can cause injury, although not as much injury as they prevent. But when they’re not actually preventing injury, that tradeoff is lost.

They can cause more serious injury, when the seat occupant is not sitting straight, forward, and upright. People who lean, or who may put a foot or a leg up on the seat while driving, can be more injured by knee airbags.

Why Are They Still in Cars?

But knee airbags won’t be removed from cars anytime soon. The existence of the airbags helps manufacturers sell cars, and in some cases, helps the manufacturers comply with government safety regulations. And yes, there is some evidence that the airbags may be more effective when seat belts aren’t being used (although you probably will have a bigger problem if you’re in a major accident and don’t use seat belts).

Were you injured in a car accident where your airbags deployed? Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today.






Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Contact Us phone: 401-453-2700 fax: 401-453-1910 Office Hours:
9:00am - 6:00pm (M-F)
Visit Us

7405 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852

Get Directions
Follow Us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn