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  #1  
Old 13 August 2007, 11:10 PM
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Police Beat police stops with air bag deployment

Comment: I recently heard that criminals who were pulled over by police
were practicing an escape tactic that sounds dubious to me. They would
wait for the officer's vehicle to come to a stop, then put their own car
into reverse and smash into the police cruiser. This would cause the
police vehicle's airbags to deploy, providing distraction and perhaps
disabling the police car, and allowing the criminal to escape. To combat
this, police cars are being outfitted with "hooks" beneath their front
bumpers that will lift and catch the rear bumper of any criminal's vehicle
if this is attempted.
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  #2  
Old 13 August 2007, 11:36 PM
Rehcsif
 
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It's my understanding that airbags only deploy when the car is moving at a sufficient speed (30mph?) So if that's true, this trick wouldn't work...

-Tim
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  #3  
Old 14 August 2007, 02:01 AM
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moonlight moonlight is offline
 
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Well I've seen the put-car-in-reverse-and-smash-cruiser tactic on more than one of those real police video shows. I've never heard of hooks beneath the front bumper though, and don't actually see how that could really work effectively. Maybe the person is thinking of the push bars.
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  #4  
Old 14 August 2007, 04:48 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Well, if nothing else, they have a good chance of busting the radiator of the police car, giving them a decent chance of outrunning it.
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  #5  
Old 20 August 2007, 03:34 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehcsif View Post
It's my understanding that airbags only deploy when the car is moving at a sufficient speed (30mph?) So if that's true, this trick wouldn't work...

-Tim
My understanding was that the airbags would deploy if the impact was over a certain combined speed, so if, say, a drunk driver plowed head-on at full speed into a car stopped at a light or stop sign, the passengers in the stopped car would still be protected by the airbags.

So while I think it would be possible to trigger the police car's airbags by backing into it, the ensuing damage to the criminal's own car would probably mean he isn't going anywhere either. If nothing else, if the impact is enough to trigger the airbags of the stationary car, then it's enough to trigger the fuel cutoff of the ramming car.
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  #6  
Old 20 August 2007, 03:37 PM
tradewinds
 
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Yes, let's add vehicular assult to the list of charges! One more charge isn't going to hurt!

Although I can see the (so-called) logic to it. If the car is disabled, then they can't chase them.

It also occurs to me that this kind of trick is only going to work once....

...tw
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  #7  
Old 20 August 2007, 03:40 PM
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I've seen this reverse rear end happen in real life. The only effect I could see was an extremely pissed of police officer and a driver laying on the hood of his car looking very much like he wished he had not done that.

For the record, no there was no brutality but it was a simple traffic stop and the guy was now going to jail.
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  #8  
Old 21 August 2007, 07:03 AM
JD65
 
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I've seen stationary vehicles that were hit that did deploy airbags, and have seen some of the older airbags deploy at little above walking speed if bumped in the right spot. haven't heard of the hooks on a police car, though. Often the push bars on a police car are limited to a pursuit vehicle, but they do also help protect the radiator if someone pulls a stunt like that. Or if they hit a deer.

My sis and b-i-l just nailed a deer a couple of weeks ago. Airbags deployed, destroyed dashboard, smashed grille, hood, fenders, door...long story short, wrote the car off. It was a 2000 Impala, similar to a lot of the police cars the RCMP use.
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  #9  
Old 21 August 2007, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meka View Post
So while I think it would be possible to trigger the police car's airbags by backing into it, the ensuing damage to the criminal's own car would probably mean he isn't going anywhere either. If nothing else, if the impact is enough to trigger the airbags of the stationary car, then it's enough to trigger the fuel cutoff of the ramming car.
The rear end of cars is mostly just empty space, except for a few with the gas tank behind the rear axle. There's nothing vital to damage in a collision until you get to the rear suspension. There was a car in the parking lot at work a while back that was crushed all the way up to the C-Pillar, and they still drove it to work for a couple of weeks (presumably until they got another car). And not all cars have a inertial fuel cutoff, nor would a minor collision necessarily activate it (they'd only have a couple of car lengths of acceleration before they hit the police cruiser).
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  #10  
Old 21 August 2007, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta-V View Post
The rear end of cars is mostly just empty space, except for a few with the gas tank behind the rear axle. There's nothing vital to damage in a collision until you get to the rear suspension. There was a car in the parking lot at work a while back that was crushed all the way up to the C-Pillar, and they still drove it to work for a couple of weeks (presumably until they got another car). And not all cars have a inertial fuel cutoff, nor would a minor collision necessarily activate it (they'd only have a couple of car lengths of acceleration before they hit the police cruiser).
If you've never been to one, go to a demolition derby. You'll be absolutely amazed at how much damage a car can absorb, yet still function.

If a car has an electric fuel pump, and is beyond a certain year, (I do not know what that year is, but it's been a while.) it DOES have an inertial cutoff, so the pump will not continue to run and feed a possible fire.

Airbag deployment is contingent on force applied, not speed. So yes, they'd have to have a decent head of steam up before the airbag would deploy.
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  #11  
Old 21 August 2007, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehcsif View Post
It's my understanding that airbags only deploy when the car is moving at a sufficient speed (30mph?)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD65 View Post
I've seen stationary vehicles that were hit that did deploy airbags, and have seen some of the older airbags deploy at little above walking speed if bumped in the right spot.
I've also seen airbags deploy at low speeds. I personally witnessed a car left in neutral roll about 15 feet down a street, hit a curb at a slow walking pace, and *POOF*

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  #12  
Old 21 August 2007, 04:04 PM
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Well before you are stopped, they have radioed your license plate info to dispatch.
Unless the car is stolen, you aren't really getting away with much.

Seeing as though I never commit any moving violations therefore making me perfect () I do not worry about such calamities............
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  #13  
Old 21 August 2007, 06:45 PM
Hubert Cumberdale
 
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If you're so desperate to get out of a police stop you're willing to ram their car you might as well just go all the way and shoot out their tires. That's guaranteed to disable the car.
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  #14  
Old 22 August 2007, 01:39 AM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta-V View Post
The rear end of cars is mostly just empty space, except for a few with the gas tank behind the rear axle. There's nothing vital to damage in a collision until you get to the rear suspension. There was a car in the parking lot at work a while back that was crushed all the way up to the C-Pillar, and they still drove it to work for a couple of weeks (presumably until they got another car). And not all cars have a inertial fuel cutoff, nor would a minor collision necessarily activate it (they'd only have a couple of car lengths of acceleration before they hit the police cruiser).
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
If you've never been to one, go to a demolition derby. You'll be absolutely amazed at how much damage a car can absorb, yet still function.

If a car has an electric fuel pump, and is beyond a certain year, (I do not know what that year is, but it's been a while.) it DOES have an inertial cutoff, so the pump will not continue to run and feed a possible fire.

Airbag deployment is contingent on force applied, not speed. So yes, they'd have to have a decent head of steam up before the airbag would deploy.
I've been in two rear-end collisions, both in Ford Tauruses (1990 and 1998 models). In both cases, the fuel cutoff engaged. While I can't say for certain how long it was before I could restart the engine, it was certainly well after I managed to shake off the shock and get out of the car. Meaning any ramming attempt by a car with a fuel cutoff would disable it long enough for the police to get to the driver.
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  #15  
Old 23 August 2007, 01:43 PM
DesertBerean
 
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Maybe I missed it...but do police cars really have air bags? Don't they do PIT stops .... you know, where the police bump into and try to stop the fleeing suspect's car? I would think air bags would be a problem...
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  #16  
Old 23 August 2007, 02:00 PM
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When police do a PIT, they don't ram the car. All you need is a slight nudge in the correct place to make the driver lose control. There is not enough force applied during this manuever to deploy the airbags.
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  #17  
Old 23 August 2007, 02:14 PM
Mnotr2
 
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I don't believe the collision would render the police cruiser's radio inoperative, so this would only be effective in the short run. As Kev-O noted, the officer who stopped you has probably already radioed your plate in, and after you smash your car into the police cruiser you likely wouldn't get very far before being apprehended by other units.
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  #18  
Old 23 August 2007, 02:46 PM
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Deploying the airbags wouldn't even be worth the time it took to ram the car. Less than a few seconds after they activated, the driver of the police car could easily push them aside (or down) and keep driving. Air bags don't stay inflated.
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  #19  
Old 23 August 2007, 04:21 PM
Doug4.7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
If you're so desperate to get out of a police stop you're willing to ram their car you might as well just go all the way and shoot out their tires. That's guaranteed to disable the car.
Just shoot the officer. That'll take care of a lot of issues.

So, the "backing up to set off the airbag" is a dumb idea, but criminals in car chases are not usually known for their analytical skills.
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  #20  
Old 23 August 2007, 04:45 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Deploying the airbags wouldn't even be worth the time it took to ram the car. Less than a few seconds after they activated, the driver of the police car could easily push them aside (or down) and keep driving. Air bags don't stay inflated.
I believe the idea was to stun the officer by getting the airbag to deploy in his/her face, not block the view out the front window. Although an airbag might, in fact, crack the front windshield - a friend of mine had the airbags on his car deploy spontaneously and had to get the windshield replaced.
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