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Can you disable the airbag?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Trnsl8r, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    It just occurred to me, one feature that is common on European cars, but (in my limited experience) not so much on US cars: ability to deactivate the front passenger airbags. The reason is that many parents like to have their rear-facing child seats in the front passenger seat, in which case airbag deployment could be fatal.

    In Volvos and others, there typically is a slightly hidden, yet straight-forward way to disable the airbag. (In a Volvo V50 I think you have to open the passenger door to see a key slot on the side of the glove compartment where you stick in your key to disable it.) On US cars I haven't been able to find a function like this (although admittedly rarely had reason to look for it).

    Does anyone know if this will be implemented? Hopefully not something that gets passed on to EU homologation...

    (TM, GeorgeB, if you're lurking, please make a note.)
     
  2. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    My understanding is that the regulations are for disabling the passenger air bag automatically when there isn't enough weight in the passenger seat. The Roadster had a waiver for that switch, but it expired this year. The Model S will have it.
     
  3. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Then the question becomes what the weight limit is... Will a toddler in a rear-facing kid seat trigger it?

    Not sure if that solution will fly in Europe, but I really have no idea. I for one would like a manual override solution before I put my kid there and bet on he/she isn't too heavy... :-/
     
  4. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    Frankly, children do not belong in the front seat. If you insist on seating one there, then yes, you had better have full knowledge of the repercussions beforehand.
     
  5. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I was under the impression that kids weren't even allowed in the front seats if in a car seat?
     
  6. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    #6 Lloyd, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
    The regulations vary by state. Most require rear facing child safety seats until 40". About 1/2 of the states require it to be installed in the rear seat if available. The trigger for the front seat appears to be 80 lbs. Children can sit in adult and lap belts with a height of 4"9", but are encouraged to have them in rear seats still.

    So much for calling "Shotgun" !

    Guide for US and Canada HERE
     
  7. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    Hmm... I beginning to realize this is one of those cultural differences... didn't mean to open a can of worms...

    After some googling I see some differences in, shall we say, philosophy between my native Sweden and the US. Such as US saying kids shouldn't be in the front since most accidents come from the front. (I say hmm, with a decent crumple zone it shouldn't make that much of a difference, but I'm no expert.) Sweden puts emphasis on proper child seat and making sure airbags are disabled if the kid is up front.

    On that note I see that Sweden also encourages rear-facing seats until the child is at least 4-5 years old, whereas US seems to think 2 years is enough. (I was chewed out by my brother once when I put my four-year old son in a front facing child seat in Sweden...)

    As an expat I see this kind of stuff all the time, not just with kids-in-cars, where one would think that kids and cars are the same worldwide, why recommendations differ so much between countries is anybody's guess.

    So, not meaning to ruffle anybody's feathers, just a heads-up that this may be expected by European customers.
     
  8. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    OK, from Lloyd's link (thank you) I learned that most of the US only requires rear-facing for kids under 1, weighing less than 20 lbs. Wow... I'm sorry, but that's crazy.

    Rearward-facing child restraints recommended up to at least four years of age Kids in traffic - Unbiased news and research about road traffic safety for kids
     
  9. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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  10. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Atleast in the US, the jury's probably out though as to how much more common side-impact collisions might be (i.e. getting T-boned by someone running a red light) when compared to head-on collisions (not fender benders) that might be less likely given divided roads/hwys:

    Car Seat.Org - Carseat, Vehicle & Child Passenger Safety Forums - View Single Post - Which is more common? Side impact or Frontal impact collisions?

    I'd personally keep my kid in the center in the back (front- or rear-facing as appropriate) as far away from any points of impact as possible.
     
  11. strider

    strider Active Member

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    My old (2000) Jeep Wrangler had one - they seem to have gone away in the US since everyone is using "smart" airbags which use the seat weight sensors.

    They make aftermarket disable switches. Here's a write-up for an Elise and link to the switch. Not sure if the Tesla airbag wire is in the same place? Might also try searching here - it may have been discussed before.

    INSTALLED: Passenger Airbag Disable Switch - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
     
  12. DRM

    DRM Roadster #619

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    Many owners (including myself) have added airbag kill-switches to their roadsters. Per USA law, it's allowable to have a child in the front seat if it is either medically required (kid with disability requiring visual contact), or the number of kids exceeds the number of rear seats, or the vehicle only has two seats. You have to file a one-page application with the NHTSA and wait for about a month while it is processed. You then get a letter authorizing a mechanic to install the switch (ordered over the internet), which the mechanic must sign and then send back to the NHTSA. Newer vehicles have advanced airbag systems which auto-disable the aribag when the passenger ways less than a certain weight. When the new airbag regulations were put in place, they were more technically difficult to implement than expected ... causing a backlog at the 3rd party airbag systems mfgrs. The feds then allowed small auto makers a few years grace b/f having to follow the new reg's. Model-S will need to have advanced airbags (esp w/ 5-star crash ratings)
     
  13. Lyon

    Lyon 2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D

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    My 2005 Audi TT Roadster (no rear seats) has a passenger air-bag kill switch (activated by the car key) in the glove box. The passenger seat also has LATCH tether anchors.
     

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