According to a recent study conducted by the IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety), knee airbags don’t prevent injury from occurring in an accident. In fact, they can make injuries even worse.
Knee Airbags – Helpful or Not?
Airbags at the knee deploy from the lower half of the dashboard. With this design, the risk of leg injury is lessened. Manufacturers of these airbags also state that the legs remain stabilized more during a crash. The thought is that this minimizes the injuries suffered in areas such as the chest and abdomen.
The report concluded that the benefits of this safety feature are minimal, at best. The study looked at data from more than 400 crash tests, as well as data from real-world accident reports. The results evaluated vehicles that have knee airbags installed and cars without.
In the crash tests conducted by IIHS, knee airbags had a minor effect on injury. With the small overlap test, leg injury risk actually increased, specifically for injuries to the lower leg and right femur. In the real-world crash data, knee airbags showed a decrease in the overall risk of injury of just a half of a percentage point, which is not statistically significant.
The IIHS study showed that these airbags may just be a waste of space. Other options would be more space-effective and useful. Some other choices include structural strengthening of the chassis or altering the position of the suspension in the vehicle.
Thankfully, this safety measure is not standard in most cars, and there seems to be little incentive to put them in more.
To stay safe on the road, it makes sense to choose a vehicle with advanced driver assistance features. Modern cars come with many options, all geared toward keeping you safe. It no longer makes sense to add airbags throughout the vehicle that don’t seem to work.