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Airbags and Laptops

I installed a touchscreen on my dash, inbetween the steering wheel and glovebox. If the airbags do trigger, I'm concerned about laptop mounts on the passenger side getting driven into the chest or abdomen of the passenger.

Does anyone else take this into a consideration?

Has anyone installed one of the "off" switches and do you use them?

I would think that a laptop, actually on the lap would be the best place so the airbag flies over the top. It doesn't take much of a front end crash to set one of these off does it?

(Insert pondering here...)
 
You can't have an off-switch legally installed unless certain medical qualifications are met... Plus you open up yourself to a nice lawsuit if your passenger gets hurt in an accident where you disabled the airbag.

Better bet is to keep it away from the airbag zone.
 
That's where it was - I looked at it before but couldn't recall the address... Not sure you'll qualify by listing storm-chaser on the application ;>

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Who should consider installing an on-off switch?
  • People who must transport infants riding in rear-facing infant seats in the front passenger seat.
  • People who must transport children ages 1 to 12 in the front passenger seat.
  • Drivers who cannot change their customary driving position and keep 10 inches between the center of the steering wheel and the center of their breastbone.
  • People whose doctors say that, due to their medical condition, the air bag poses a special risk that outweighs the risk of hitting their head, neck or chest in a crash if the air bag is turned off.
If you cannot certify that you are, or any user of your vehicle is, in one of these groups, you are not eligible for an on-off switch.
 
Trucks that don't have rear seats obviously do because of points #1 and #2. Still can't legally add one because of a laptop.
 
Trucks that don't have rear seats obviously do because of points #1 and #2. Still can't legally add one because of a laptop.

Actually, I know of several trucks that have rear seats that have the key/switch. (Dodge Ram 1500, for example)

Either way, you may want to consult with an attorney/dealership, rather than consulting with a bunch of know-it-all stormchasers. :)
 
The more serious safety consideration with a vehicle-mounted laptop is how you use it during a chase. Viewing a laptop screen while driving is leagues above any other distraction danger. I would strongly advise against having the screen open while you are driving to avoid the temptation to look at it. The driver should never look at the screen while driving. Particularly with radar and even GPS mapping, whatever is on the screen usually requires more than a quick glance to be useful. I've had a couple of scares after looking at WxWorx loops that have been serious enough that I've resolved not to use the laptop while I'm driving. It is even worse when you have the laptop sitting on the passenger seat, when you have to turn your head 90 degrees to see the screen. It's bad enough that I rank it as the top one or two chase-related hazards today. Also, if you were to have an accident due to looking at a laptop, your liability in the event of injuring someone would be on the criminal negligence level - you'd go to jail for it.

Delegate laptop duties to the passenger - if you're solo, pull over and stop (at a safe spot, of course) to look at the screen. I know it sounds like a pain, and sometimes it is - but it's worth it to eliminate such a high risk factor.

A note about trucks - trucks aren't legally subject to many of the safety requirements that cars have. For instance, four-wheel antilock brakes weren't standard when I bought my Ranger in 2000, which had rear-wheel-only ABS as well as a passenger airbag switch.
 
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You can't have an off-switch legally installed unless certain medical qualifications are met... Plus you open up yourself to a nice lawsuit if your passenger gets hurt in an accident where you disabled the airbag.

Impaling you passenger might also open you up to a lawsuit.:eek:
 
Agreed. That's why it's not a good idea to put a laptop on top of the airbag, and why you can't legally install an off switch...
 
I installed a touchscreen on my dash, inbetween the steering wheel and glovebox. If the airbags do trigger, I'm concerned about laptop mounts on the passenger side getting driven into the chest or abdomen of the passenger.

Does anyone else take this into a consideration?

Has anyone installed one of the "off" switches and do you use them?

I would think that a laptop, actually on the lap would be the best place so the airbag flies over the top. It doesn't take much of a front end crash to set one of these off does it?

(Insert pondering here...)

Jerry, try contacting the manufacturer and tell them you need the airbag deployment zone for the vehicle. They may or may not have this information. Usually the lower middle area is outside of the airbag deployment zone but only the manufacturer can give you this kind of information. When an airbag deploys varies on the design, mine for instance is set to go somewhere between 11 and 15mph. That's for hitting a wall, it's likely 2-5mph higher when it's an object which doesn't provide full resistance.
 
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