What Is a Passive Restraint System?

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A passive restraint system does not require anyone to do anything manually to make it work. An airbag is an example of a passive restraint system. When a vehicle’s sensors detect an impact, the airbag automatically deploys. Seat belts, unless automated, do not fall under the true definition of “passive” as a manual action secures the belt to its clasp.

Dictionary.com defines a passive restraint as “a safety device, as an air bag or special seat belt, that is activated automatically to protect an automobile passenger at the moment of impact when a collision occurs.” Passive restraints are not limited to vehicular safety. Other passive restraint systems prevent falls, such as guardrails and fences. A guardrail around the viewing area of a canyon is an example of a passive restraint as it is a barrier between a potential danger and humans. Just as drivers realize a discount on their vehicle insurance for safety features like automatic air bags, companies use passive restraint systems in an effort to avoid accidents and to keep insurance liability costs low. Additionally, because a person would have to cross a protective barrier for an injury to take place, passive restraints systems discourage the filing of frivolous lawsuits.