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Hi everyone,
Would be grateful of opinions please?
My daughter just before Christmas drove her mini into a lamp post (I know). She was setting off from stationary in a car park and had covered about 18 yards. She estimates rough speed 20mph at the most. The airbags did not deploy. General opinion is the car will be written off as radiator bonnet and front grill all damaged. However I think the air bags should have gone off. The impact was enough to show up on her black box. We had trouble with the air bag light coming on when we bought the car and I am worried now there was a fault?
Any advice gratefully received!
 

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Unfortunately, there has to be certain conditions for airbag's to deploy on a car. The airbag warning light coming on does not help the matter in your case, as it muddies the water, if it was working right or not. Did you get that checked out and rectified and given an answer in writing that it was now ok, and what was wrong with it in the first place? This could affect you accident insurance claim, whether for the better i do not know, could even be deprimental if they find out there was problems with the airbag circuit. So watch how you play this.

In the front bumoer of the car there are a number of 'knock' sensors that need one or even two to operate, depending on make and type of car, so that the air bags go off.

Depending on how slow and where the impact happens causes the airbags to operate or not operate.

My niece had a peugeot 107 and got hit at 20 MPH by a car coming round a blind bend that actually landed on her bonnet, yet, the airbags did not go off, resulting in whiplash injuries. The accident report stated that air bags may not operate in this type of crash as sensors were not hit, but they did get compensation for a replacement car and get aftercare help for injuries. She and her partner are now ok.
 

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Last year I went into the side of someone (my ES was only a few months old!), blind junction, no signs or road markings etc....

Anyway, My bonnet was a mess, was a good shunt, but no airbag deployment. No fault, it just didn't need to go off. (car was repaired thankfully)

Agree with what Colin said.
 

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Some bumps aren't severe enough to warrant it, while in other situations, deploying the air bags might actually cause more of an injury than if they actually didn't go off.

This is US based but I'm sure the situations are similar:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/air-bags#topic-faqs

The activation of an air bag in a crash is dependent on several important factors including: the characteristics of the crash (e.g., speed, other vehicles involved, impact direction); the individual vehicle air bag system's design strategy; and the crash sensor locations. Air bags are not intended to deploy in all crashes. There may be circumstances when an air bag does not deploy. Some possible examples follow:

The crash conditions may be sufficiently moderate where an air bag would not be needed to protect an occupant wearing a seat belt. The seat belt may provide sufficient protection from a head or chest injury in such a crash.

Many advanced frontal air bag systems automatically turn off the passenger air bag when the vehicle detects a small-stature passenger or child, a child in a child restraint system, or no occupant in the right front passenger seat.

Some advanced side air bag systems will similarly shut off the passenger side air bag system when detecting a small-stature passenger or child in the right front passenger seat who is positioned too close to the side air bag.
 
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