The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a warning to drivers of pickup trucks who carry small children in the front seat. The NHTSA reports that in a survey of more than 3,000 pickup-truck drivers, those with passengers ages one to 12 had their airbags left enabled 48 percent of the time.
NHTSA warns that airbags should be switched off when small passengers ride in the front seat. Deployment of the airbag could hurt or even kill a small child. Airbag switches, first introduced in 1995, were meant to be turned off for small children and on for people older than 12.
According to the NHTSA survey, among those pickup drivers who carry teens and other adult passengers, 48 percent of airbag switches were left on for passengers under 12 years old and 17 percent of airbag switches were left on for teenagers and adults.
NHTSA also states that modern airbags should not injure a small adult, if he or she is wearing a seat belt. By 2013, the switches will be obsolete thanks to the standardization of advanced airbag systems.