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Re: Totalled Audi - rev 2

> From quattro-owner@swiss.ans.net Thu Aug  4 18:47:18 1994
> Date: Thu, 4 Aug 94 17:52:18 edt
> From: David_Wagner@dgc.ceo.dg.com
> She did a perfect T-bone into passenger side of Trans-Am.  Bent it's 
> frame for certain, and ripped the rear wheel off the axle (broke all 5 
> bolts!), and pushed in the passenger door and sill about 12-18 inches.
> One strange thing: The air bag did NOT trip!!! wonder what it really 
> takes and/or is/was it defective?!

The airbag on most German cars will be deployed if it hits an
immoveable, flat object head-on at around 20 mph if the driver is
belted and at around 12 mph if the driver is unbelted.  As the airbag
is triggered by accelerometers in the car, a moveable or absorptive
object would have to be impacted at a higher rate of speed for
triggering to occur.

A 20 mph barrier crash is the same as hitting an oncoming car going 20
mph, which corresponds to a closing speed of 40 mph.  Therefore, in
this case--as the Camaro was not moving toward the Audi--the equivalent
speed into a barrier would be one-half of the 25 mph speed at which the
Audi T-boned the Camaro, or 12.5 mph.  So the airbag should not have
deployed given that the driver was belted in this case.

Also to be considered is that the Camaro is a relatively soft car,
compressing up to 18 inches on the side.  This car would clearly not
meet the 1997 Federal dynamic side impact standard which calls for less
displacement than that at 34 mph!  However, cars such as Audis that
have passenger cells worthy of the name have no problems passing this
test.  The best car in terms of rigidity on the market today is the new
Audi A8.  When crashed into a concrete barrier on just the driver's
side at 35 mph, the front is displaced only 60 cm, or about 24 inches.
The rest of the car is unscathed.  If the crash were into a
full-frontal barrier, displacement would be even less.  This means one
could hit a stationary vehicle of equal or less weight (3400 lbs) at up
to 70 mph and sustain no injuries!  Of course, the poor Camaro would be

Such discussions may be morbid, but the product is very safe cars.
Unfortunately, too many people disregard the great acheivements that
have been made, i.e. driving old cars that lack safety equipment or
little econoboxes with no protection whatsoever, and pay dearly.
Where I work, the number of people injured in accidents is very 
high, and several have been killed.  One woman was in a coma for six

Good to hear this doesn't always have to be the case.

John Greenstreet, Senior Engineer           (jgreenst@motown.ge.com)
Martin Marietta Government Electronic Systems    Moorestown NJ 08057
WPI Class of '75, Temple Class of '94

My new car history:
1972     1975       1978      1982       1986        1989      1992
 VW  ->   VW    ->  Audi  ->  Audi  -> Mercedes -> Mercedes -> Audi
SBug   Scirocco   Fox GTI     4000S    190E 2.3    190E 2.6    100CS

POSSLQ's* new car history:
         1978       1981       1985      1988        1990      1993
       Triumph ->  Toyota ->  Toyota  ->  VW    ->   Audi   -> Audi
       Spitfire    Tercel     Corolla   Jetta GL      80       90S

*POSSLQ = Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters
Note: All Audis and Mercedes above were sold to friends or family.