Actually you can, crush zones, safety “cages”, seat belts, padded or “soft” steering wheels, ABS, power steering, power brakes, etc, etc have all helped contribute to safer cars, it isn’t all due to air bags, and might not be due to them at all, there are studies out there that argue airbag equipped cars actually have a higher death rate attached to them, not lowered. Many of these studies go further into detail than simple “death rate before” ‘death rate after” boy aren’t we good studies the government used to pat itself on the back.
The fact still remains that airbags were initially implemented to reduce the death rate of unrestrained drivers, not belted drivers. The cause of the high automotive death rate in the 60’s and 70’s wasn’t due to belted drivers, it was unbelted drivers. As a result the government felt the need to get involved and eventually implemented among other things that at least one of several “passive” devices, such as automatic seat belts which “forced” the occupant to wear belts, or airbags, be on the vehicle in an attempt to force people to wear a belt or reduce the death rate of an unbelted driver.
Do airbags work with seat belts? Of course they do, now
, I know how they work, however the fine tuning of airbags is a fairly recent development, it hasn’t always been that way. Also, if you know how they work, you also see how they can easily compound the forces of the accident and kill you, and it happens far more often that people think. The sad fact is however, if the victims family doesn’t pursue an investigation and charges, no one else will, and in fact, most people are so brain washed that it will never even occur to them that the airbag might have been the reason they died, not the crash, and if it does occur to them they might still just chalk it up to the cost of having air bags or airbag failure, they aren’t perfect, they don’t work in every situation, a few will always die. When you hear of someone who died in a crash, what do you think? Sad, must have been a bad crash. You don’t think, I wonder if the airbag was what killed them. No one knows exactly how many people are killed by airbags, and what numbers are out there are understated for sure simply because of the reasons outlined above, and due to the hardships evolved in proving that it was actually the airbag that was responsible for the death. The number I have seen most often though is 1-21, which to me, isn't all that waaaay less than they kill nor all that much more than they save to me.
I'm not saying airbags are the devil incarnate, but the systems use on many vehicles, particularly older vehicles, are not all that state of the art and likely to hurt or kill you as save you. We have better systems, and we have for years, we've know using a higher powered deployment could and does result in accidental deaths, we've known was to improve but those of us with a brain also know that when it comes to meeting standards that is often is all that is done, meet the standard, to do more than that would cost money = less profits. We're all familiar with the Pinto Scandal.
In Europe they have less powerful airbags, they are not designed to stop an unbelted driver, so they don’t need to inflate as fast, and thus are less likely to cause harm. If you are belted, American airbags with their higher speed and rate of expansion can cause you harm, perhaps more harm than good, this is a recognized problem and why as I noted earlier, some cars will now recognize if the occupants are belted, and reduce the power of the airbag if they are.
By the way Wikipedia isn’t allowed as a reference source even in grade school.