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Technologies could blunt impact of car crashes

Many people in Pennsylvania may be interested in technologies that could improve driving safety. One company, ZF, is developing external airbags that cushion a car's exterior in case of a crash in order to reduce the risk of injury or death. Every year, thousands of people across the country lose their lives in car crashes, and technologies that could make these accidents less deadly are appealing to many. ZF is not the first company to develop external airbags, but the company released tests that claim injury severity could be reduced by 40 percent if the bags deploy.

While internal airbags are now a required safety feature, external airbags have faced a range of problems that have prevented them from moving forward into production. The airbags are designed to deploy on the vehicle's side in case of a car crash, forming a large pillow or cushion that blunts the blow from the oncoming vehicle in the case of a side-impact or T-bone crash. However, manufacturers must design the technology to function properly, opening when necessary and staying in place when not needed.

External airbags that deploy when unnecessary could pose a significant risk of crash or injury, unlike other types of automatic protective systems that detect changes in driving behavior like seat belt tightening. ZF says that advances in camera, radar and other technologies could soon make external airbags feasible and capable of deploying a split second before impact.

While technologies help reduce the risks associated with car accidents, collisions can lead to catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. People who have been hurt in a car accident due to someone else's negligent driving might work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for their damages.

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