According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 50,000 lives are saved each year because of airbags. Airbags have been one the most important safety enhancements in the automotive industry since the implementation of the federal seat belt law went into effect in 1968.
As any Boomers reading might remember, cars were not required to even have seat belts until 1968! It was many years later, 1985(!) when states finally began to require drivers to use seat belts or face fines.
So, why the history lesson? Airbags and more recent electronic safety features have made a tremendous impact on reducing crashes and subsequent injuries caused by them. Unfortunately, there is also the reality that these important safety features are expensive to repair. See above for a perfect example of a “minor” side impact collision, though still hard enough to deploy the airbags.
The physical damage from the collision would not have totaled this SUV, but the added cost to replace the airbags resulted in a total loss and GAP claim of $14,894.69.