Oklahoma’s Airbag Deployment
The state of Oklahoma has managed to do something that the rest of the country hasn’t managed yet. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma Highway Safety Office has found a way to track airbag deployment data. The Traffic and Criminal Software (TraCS) that Oklahoma is currently using is getting national attention since they are the first state to report on the data collected.
Why is airbag deployment data important and relevant to Oklahoma car insurance companies? It is now that there is a problem nationwide with airbags not deploying properly in an accident. This lack of deployment is causing severe injuries, even fatalities, across the nation. However, since data was not collected on how frequent this occurrence is the Oklahoma Department of Insurance and similar departments across the country have not been able to come up with a plan to tackle the problem.
Why hasn’t this data been tracked? The major part of the problem is that each state collects data differently. On top of that, there are some states that aren’t tracking airbag deployment issues at all. Even if every state was cataloging the information, each state uses a different system for data collection and it is no guarantee that these different approaches will be compatible with one another. Oklahoma is now being approached by the federal government because of their success with the TraCS software and data collection. The United States is now looking to implement a federal reporting system to do this work so that the potential dangers of airbags can be investigated and improved upon, if necessary.
Statistics show that from the late 1980’s until 2008, airbags protected nearly 26,000 drivers and passengers. Concern is not over whether or not airbags are a good idea but over the likelihood that they may not work properly when needed. Local enforcement agencies know that there is a chance an airbag won’t deploy based on past incidents of this problem. What isn’t understood is the percentage, or level of risk, that a faulty airbag make cause.
How does this affect the cost of car insurance in Oklahoma and other states? Having airbags is one of the many ways to receive discounted car insurance rates from being auto insurance companies. This practice is common because having safety equipment, like airbags, installed in a vehicle can reduce medical injury claims in an accident. Finding out what causes a lack of airbag deployment is in the best interest of car insurance companies everywhere since fixing the problem will also decrease the amount of damages claimed in an accident.