About AOI by Pro-gard
History of Air bags
Air bags intended for automotive use date all the way back to the 1950’s but did not find their way into OEM equipment until the 1970’s. Since then, automotive air bags have seen many improvements and evolutions to become what they are today.
It is undeniable that air bags lessen injuries and save lives in accidents and crashes. So much so that in 1998, NHTSA began mandating that all cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. are required to have frontal air bags on both the driver and passenger sides of the front seat.
In the late 1990’s, as frontal air bag protection improved, automotive manufacturers began to implement other air bag systems into the interior of the vehicle called SABs (Supplemental Air Bags) including side impact/curtain, knee bolster, torso, tubular, and door. At present these air bags are not required by NHTSA but may be in the future with regards to side ejection rulings by the governing body.
Implementation of Air bag Deactivation Switches
Due to the rapid and forceful deployment of air bags, aftermarket components in the deployment zone can become hazards to the vehicle occupants. In some cases, the air bag itself may become the hazard.
As a result, manufacturers were required to improve the deployment process of the air bags, to minimize injury. Regulations were also put into place preventing young children from sitting in the front seats where they were at more risk than adults to injury from an air bag.
Yet with all the improvements, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recognizes that there are still some situations when the risk of having an active air bag outweigh the benefits. Thus NHTSA established a ruling allowing for the installation of aftermarket air bag on/off switches in January of 1998 (49CFR, parts 571 &595; Docket # -NHTSA-97-3111). More information about this ruling can be found at www.NHTSA.org.
To accommodate this ruling, many automotive manufacturers built air bag deactivation switches into some small sedans and light trucks as an OEM feature. As air bags have improved overtime, most manufacturers no longer include this product feature. Individuals needing to have an air bag deactivation device must look to aftermarket products for solutions.
In 1998, the first and original air bag on/off switch was designed by AirBag Options, LLC to fit this new niche in vehicle aftermarket parts. AOI Electrical acquired that business in 2001 and was later purchased by Pro-gard Products, LLC in 2009. Through each transition of ownership, the air bag on/off switches saw improvements in their design, making them more reliable and affordable.
The original air bag on/off switch included options that went above NHTSA requirements, including a liability fuse that protects customers against false litigation, by indicating the air bag status at the moment of impact.
Law Enforcement Applications
In the early 1990’s more and more aftermarket electronics were becoming available to police departments. These product enabled officers to do their routine jobs more efficiently and easily. Devices like dash mounted laptops, radar, video cameras, and emergency lighting to name a few, were quickly becoming necessities in the patrol cruiser.
Most of this equipment must be mounted on or near the dashboard which mostly comprises the deployment zones of the frontal air bags. If this equipment comes into contact with a deploying air bag, it can be damaged or dislodged and become hazardous projectiles in the cruiser. This equipment can also alter the trajectory of the air bag’s deployment from what the OEM designed.
To eliminate this conflict, AOI Electrical began providing their Airbag On/Off Switches to the law enforcement market. NHTSA will allow for the deactivation of airbags in vehicles used for emergency situations. Agencies can submit a letter of intent to NHTSA. In return, NHTSA will provide a letter confirming the necessity and legality of installation of the switch. Read more information about AOI Airbag On/Off Switches for the law enforcement industry (you will be redirected to Pro-gard.com).
Since 1968, Pro-gard Products has provided the safest, most durable law enforcement products designed to perform on the open road. We take pride in the craftsmanship and quality that goes into making our products the safest and most reliable in the industry. Pro-gard is proud to offer our products to the entire United States as well as many foreign markets.
This same commitment to building quality products is built into every component of our AOI Electrical Airbag On/Off Switches. From our solid state connections to our enhanced circuit boards, our employees take great pride in knowing that each step of the manufacturing process is precise. Our switches are further tested to 100,000 cycles to ensure their durability.