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So, I have a seat organizer on the front passenger seat. I also have hiking poles resting on the front passenger seat. In the case of an accident, If I don’t have too much weight on the passenger seat, the drivers area should be the only area with airbag deployment? Some Toyotas used to have a key to turn off the passenger airbag. Is that still possible? I’m the only person ever in the vehicle.
 

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So, I have a seat organizer on the front passenger seat. I also have hiking poles resting on the front passenger seat. In the case of an accident, If I don’t have too much weight on the passenger seat, the drivers area should be the only area with airbag deployment? Some Toyotas used to have a key to turn off the passenger airbag. Is that still possible? I’m the only person ever in the vehicle.
Well looking at your dash will tell you whether the airbag for the right front passenger seat is engaged, or not.
Looks like this.
 

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You cannot "turn off" the front passenger airbag on 3rd or 4th Gen with a key.
If you do not have a front passenger that weighs enough (or nothing on the seat heavy enough), all the airbags EXCEPT the front passenger will go off.

These pictures are from a 3rd gen with all airbags deployed, except the front passenger.
Land vehicle Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Fixture
Motor vehicle Mode of transport Automotive exterior Automotive design Car
Vehicle Car Automotive design Motor vehicle Car seat cover
 

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You cannot "turn off" the front passenger airbag on 3rd or 4th Gen with a key.
If you do not have a front passenger that weighs enough (or nothing on the seat heavy enough), all the airbags EXCEPT the front passenger will go off.

These pictures are from a 3rd gen with all airbags deployed, except the front passenger.
I cant say for sure I'm right but I dont believe every air bag in the car goes off during an accident. Pretty sure there are impact sensors in multiple spots in a vehicle for this very reason.
 

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I cant say for sure I'm right but I dont believe every air bag in the car goes off during an accident. Pretty sure there are impact sensors in multiple spots in a vehicle for this very reason.
That would be correct. But he asked about front pax airbag. If the front goes, it’s every bag up front.
 

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I was not referring to the OP but to goldenpiggy. He had the pics of all the airbags deployed. I understood it that if you get hit on the left side then only the left side curtain air bags should go off, not the right side. Cant say for sure but from his pictures, that van doesnt appear to have any damage on either side, so I just dont see how all those bags would have gone off.
 

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My understanding of how airbags work is all the side impact ones deploy regardless. This is to protect the occupants not just from the initial impact, but from impact to the interior that can result when vehicle comes to a stop (and passengers are still moving), or if there is a rollover.

In the picts I posted, the point of impact was the front passenger corner.
Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive design
 

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Well there you have it. No way I would have guessed curtain side bags would have gone off for such a small accident like that.
Now that it seems like more and more cars are doing occupancy detection in all seats I wonder if they will set up the rear the same way as passenger front, in that if no one is there those air bags wont go off.
 

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Occupancy detection does not preclude selective airbag deployment. While the force from an impact is a vector (magnitude + direction), airbag sensors are linear accelerometers. They cannot figure out which direction the force came from. If one gets T-boned, even the front-mounted sensor experiences such rapid deceleration that it signals the airbag module to deploy. A single or two (one redundant) sensor doesn't know how or where the car got hit -- just that it got hit.

I suppose if you have multiple airbag (collision) sensors throughout a vehicle, a DSP in the airbag control module can figure out where the collision came from. Better yet, add input from other sensors such as BSM (a radar) or cameras to assist in determining point of impact.

In the end, the airbag system is what's known as ASIL level D -- the severest of all automotive safety critical systems according to ISO 26262. Human life depends on it. It cannot fail, so safest to deploy all the airbags (except front passenger) and not have to make decisions that could affect passengers' lives. Airbags also need to deploy really fast, something like 50ms.
 
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