During moderate to severe frontal crashes, a frontal air bag inflates in a fraction of a second to prevent an occupant from hitting the interior of the vehicle.
- Frontal air bags typically are not designed to offer protection in rollover, side-impact, or rear-end crashes.
- Frontal air bags do not eliminate the need for seat belts, but are a supplement to them.
- Occupants who are unbelted or seated too close to the frontal air bag module when the air bag deploys can be seriously injured or killed.
- Driver and passenger frontal air bags have been required standard equipment in all passenger cars since model year 1998 and in all light trucks (pickups, vans, and SUVs) since model year 1999.
- Second generation frontal air bags, also known as "depowered" air bags, were introduced into passenger cars and light trucks (pickups, vans, and SUVs) during the 1998 model year.
- Third generation frontal air bags, better known as "advanced" frontal air bags, were available in some vehicles by 2003, and have been standard equipment on all light vehicles since model year 2007.
- Many vehicles on the road today are equipped with earlier generation frontal air bag technologies; motorists should check their vehicle owner's manual to find out what type of air bag system their vehicle has and how it operates.