Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday's Tech Tip: Why do some vehicle manuals warn that nothing should press against the back of the front passenger seat or be placed under that seat?

Here's the Short Answer
The warning applies to pressure against or objects under the FRONT PASSENGER seat (not the driver seat).  Advanced Air Bags (AAB), which are now standard equipment in all vehicles, use sensors to decide when to deploy.  Pressure against the seatback of the front passenger seat - such as from a rear-facing car seat or the feet of a forward-facing child - may cause a false reading by the sensors.  In a crash, the sensors might inappropriately react to this pressure and either inflate the airbag when it should have stayed deflated, or vice versa.  Even pressure under the seat - such as from objects placed under the front passenger seat - may affect the sensors.

Tips to Take Away - What Should You Do:
  • As a rule, it is best to make sure that the rear-facing car seat does not press against the front passenger seat (one vehicle manufacturer explained that you should be able to slip a sheet of paper in between the rear-facing car seat and the front seatback)
  • If a forward-facing child sits on the passenger side in the back seat, try to make sure they do not push their feet against the seatback of the front passenger seat
  • Do not put anything underneath the front seat (including medical equipment)
Now that I piqued your interest, please read the long answer in this fantastic article from our friends at Safe Ride News.

If you are a CPS Tech, subscribe to the Safe Ride News Newsletter - it's a great way to stay up-to-date.

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