Q: How does my truck “know” if there is a passenger sitting in the passenger seat?

asked by on December 15, 2015

How does my truck “know” if there is a passenger sitting in the passenger seat?

There are two sensors that are used to determine if there is a passenger currently seated and buckled in. One sensor is in the seat itself -- to sense when there is adequate pressure on the seat. The other sensor is in the seat belt buckle -- to determine whether or not the passenger is wearing their seat belt. In some models, the truck uses this data to determine whether or not the passenger airbag needs to be activated or not.

  • If your vehicle can automatically turn the passenger side front airbag on and off, there will be a small display on the overhead console with “Passenger Airbag” written over lights with “on” and “off” on them, which indicate whether or not the airbag is active.

  • It will also have a symbol resembling a person belted into their seat, which lights up when the passenger is not wearing their seat belt.

Tips

  • Infants or young children cannot use the front passenger seat if they have a rear-facing car seat. There is a slight chance a hard crash could set off the airbag no matter what, and a rear-facing car seat sits far too close to the passenger side airbag.

  • Always wear a seat belt. Airbags are designed specifically to protect occupants who are strapped into their seats.

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