Many drivers ask for the passenger airbag to be deactivated so they can put a rear-facing child seat beside the driver. Leaving the airbag on would be a danger to a child in the event on an accident.
But it is vital proper records are kept or new drivers could be given the car assuming the airbag is working and not realise the protection device has been turned off. The warning was given at the Association of Car Fleet Operators London West regional meeting.
Chairman David Dippie, a fleet consultant, told members: ‘I was asked to check whether an airbag had been deactivated and it was a nightmare to find out. It differs between manufacturers and models. On some cars you can tell, because of warning lights, but on others you would need to visit a dealership to be sure.’
Members raised concerns that, from a health and safety point of view, companies could put themselves in a difficult legal position if they handed a car to an employee stating it had a passenger safety device without warning them it wasn’t working. Other members said their fleet policy was that the airbag could not be turned off in any circumstances and therefore children had to be carried in the back.