Avoiding Airbag Injuries while Driving Trucks

What causes airbag injuries when truck driving?

Police are warning drivers not to wear lanyards around their neck whilst driving. The advice follows incidents where injuries have been aggravated following the deployment of an airbag because items attached to a lanyard have been forced into the wearer’s chest causing significant injury.

Objects such as keys or passes attached to a lanyard are specific examples of items that may cause injury if not removed whilst driving. In one crash, the pressure of the airbag forced the lanyard and pass into the driver’s chest causing a lung to collapse. On another occasion, a set of keys attached to a lanyard perforated the bowel of the wearer. Incidents of this nature serve as an important reminder to drivers of the dangers caused by having any items other than soft clothing between the driver and an airbag.

About the author

Chris North FCII, commercial vehicles insurance articles author Chris North FCII is a respected industry leader with over 40 years' experience, who has worked in the insurance industry in a variety of roles, accumulating a wealth of knowledge. He is currently Technical Manager for Towergate's motor division, providing expertise on all matters relating to motor fleet insurance, in particular haulage and self-drive hire fleets.

How can I reduce the risk of airbag injuries when truck driving?

European airbags typically hold 35 litres of gas propellant, expand at a speed close to 160 miles per hour and take around 25 milli-seconds to fully inflate. Given the speed of deployment and the forces involved, it’s vital to minimise the risk of injury caused by the presence of any object between the driver and the airbag. The closer the driver or passenger is to the airbag deployment zone, the greater the risk of injury. To reduce that risk, the following points need to be kept in mind:

  • The driver’s seat should always be positioned as far back from the steering wheel as is possible whilst at the same time still allowing the safe operation of the vehicle’s controls.
  • If at the time of airbag-deployment the driver has an arm across the steering wheel rather than driving with their arms at ‘ten to two’ or ‘quarter to three’, a broken arm is a very likely consequence.
  • Vehicle occupants should never carry anything on their laps such as bags of groceries.
  • Drivers should ensure that there are no loose objects in their vehicle that in the event of a crash could be thrown into the deployment zone or become an injury-causing projectile.
  • Airbags are complementary to, rather than a substitute for, seat belts. Without a seat belt, in the event of a crash, drivers are far more likely to be thrown into the deployment zone, dramatically increasing the risk of injury.

Truck insurance from Towergate

If your airbag activates, it's likely due to a crash, and while it can save your life, you might find that your truck is not so lucky. 

We can offer tailored truck insurance with a series of options for drivers of single trucks or hauliers with fleets of up to five HGVs. Our cover ensures you have the right cover in place within a single policy, with no truck too big or too small. We can cover any truck ranging in size from 3.5t vehicles right through to trucks used to move abnormal loads.

Call for a quote on 0344 346 1418 or request a quote online. Alternatively, read more about our truck insurance and what we cover.

For larger vehicle fleets, we also offer fleet insurance.

All cover is subject to normal underwriting terms and conditions.