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Ivan, ASE Certified Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 4871
Experience:  ASE Master Tech w/ 20+ years in the field. Self employed for 9 years. Member of AUTOLAB radio show.
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A car crash in a mini cooper (2004) The car went..raining..70 MPH

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My son was involved in a car crash in a mini cooper (2004) The car went over some railroad tracks and started to loose control. IT was raining at the time. The car was estimated to be traveling at 65-70 MPH at the time. The driver over corrected and started phish tailing for 357 feet. They then his a square curb launching the car into the air off the ground for 57 feet hitting the first tree around the front of the vehicle, then rotated 17 feet to hit a second tree from the back killing the 2 boys at the time. The vehicle was 8 feet in the air and then dropped to its final resting place. None of the airbags deployed. The vehicle was so badly damaged that 3 of the 4 boys in the car had to be cut out with the Jaws of Life. Now I just read that this vehicle had front airbags, side airbags, and front and rear head airbags. Not a single airbag deployed. I need a mini specialist to let me know if they believe this is normal.

Ivan :

Hello and good morning. That story is amazingly heartbreaking. It is beyond awful. Air bags are not failsafe. In order for them to operate, the crash sensors need to be struck with a certain amount of force. If those sensors are not touched and the impact happens a few inches away, it is possible for the bag to not be deployed. Since the vehicle was airborne, the side air bags would not inflate until impact was made. Once the vehicle struck the tree, it is possible that the impact zone was not where the sensor was. I search and searched to find you some information that could help or resources to point your investigation. I did find one very helpful informative article that I am going to provide the link for. Without a formal investigation of the vehicle, any speculation is not solid. Only after reviewing the damage on the car could reasons for the failure to deploy become clear. Take a look at this article and see if it satisfies any of the thoughts you may have. Again, I am truly sorry to hear about your loss, words can't describe it.

Ivan :

Your JA Expert,

Ivan :


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Can you tell me what a "Head Airbag - Rear" as is listed on the safety sheet of the 2004 Mini. My son died fo a head trauma and I am trying ti understand if this airbag had deployed whether or not it could have changed the outcome/ Of course no one knows but he at least deserved a chance.
I have to tell you my eyes well up for you. I have a 2008 Mini Cooper. Your son's car had an air bag in the steering wheel and one in the dashboard. It also had a side air bags in the front seats of the car. The car also had side curtain air bags for the front occupants. There were no air bags in the rear to protect rear seat occupants. Below is an image from Yahoo autos that show the air bag options for the car. I purchased an 08 model because I have 2 small children and that was the first year that they included rear airbags. Those in the front would have had protection, provided the air bag sensors registered a crash. Since the car went airborne, it didn't sound like that would have occurred. If the car struck another car first, it would be possible, but it sounds like, the bags never got a signal to deploy until the moment of impact and since that was in the side of the vehicle, the front bags may never have inflated.graphic
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