Chassis based ute air bags and bullbars

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 at 21:09
ThreadID: 137912 Views:5638 Replies:3 FollowUps:0
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The modern day chassis based ute tops the vehicle sales these days with many used as family transports. Many of these utes are fitted with a bull bar. In Victoria, and I presume other States, VicRoads VSI1 requires all bull bars to comply with ADR 69 which says among other things that "The bull bar must be designed and fitted so that the safety of the vehicle is not adversely affected" and "Demonstration of compliance with ADR 69 or ADR 73 requires full scale barrier testing. Similarly demonstrating that the critical air bag timing mechanism is not affected when a bull bar is fitted may also require full scale barrier testing." VSI1 can be downloaded at!

I am concerned about my own and my passengers safety so I decided to look into this matter.
The seller of the bull bar fitted to my vehicle provided me with this test certificate for my 2017 D-Max.

I rang the the testing engineer a Mr Grad Zivkovic who informed me that,
1. The test is carried out on a test jig.
2. The test bull bar had a winch fitted.
3. The bull bar and its mounting bracket were "pinned"
4. That he provides the test certificates for most other bull bar manufactures.

What concerns me about this test certificate is,
1. its age.
2. it covers 16 different bull bars.
3. many bull bars are fitted without a winch so I would suggest this certificate does not cover them.
4. The bull bar tested was "pinned" and in my case the bull bar fitted to my vehicle was not "pinned".
5. ADR 69 states "designed and fitted" but the tested bull bar was not fitted to a vehicle.
6. If  ADR 69 mentions "fitted" then the certificate should make reference to the fitting instructions.

All this leads me to believe that it is no certainty that the air bags in my vehicle will deploy as the manufacturer intended in the event of an accident, hence my concern about mine and my passengers safety.

My question to readers of this Forum is, does anyone know of any chassis based utes, with a bull bar fitted that has been involved in some sort of accident where the air bags did not deploy when they should have, or the air bags deployed when they should not have?. Air bags are designed to protect passengers from injury, or limit the extent of any injury.
It is a failure if in an accident vehicle occupants are injured but no air bags deployed, or in a minor accident the air bags deployed. When an air bag deploys it has a good chance of hurting you, but this is planned to be a lot less severe that what might have happened had the air bags not gone off in an accident.

If I get enough responses which are of concern I will be taking the matter up with VicRoads.
If anyone wants to talk to me about this matter please PM me with a contact number and I will ring you.

What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 08:17

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 08:17
Follow please
AnswerID: 624284

Reply By: RMD - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 09:36

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 09:36
The deployment of your air bags are controlled by a decellerometer, as they are in vehicles, and unless the decelleration limit is exceeded then the airbags don't operate.

A vehicle engineer exlained to me that as soon as a bullbar come in contact with another vehicle or object, it effectively becomes part of that object,it may be another vehicle, and after that the crumple zones largely control the decelleration of the the vehicle and if sufficient the bags will fire.
Often, although obviously not so good for pedestrians, a bull bar spreads the imact load over a wider area and less burrowing into the impacted object occurs. Possibly safer for another vehicle instead of a concentrated point type impact.

"REMEMBER THAT IF THERE IS AN ACCIDENT AND NO ONE WAS INJURED AND THE AIR BAGS DID NOT DEPLOY, THEN THEY WORKED AS DESIGNED". If no one injured and no bag deployment then the decelleration must have been under the tested/researched and built in threshold for that vehicle manufacturer, ie, low speed.
Bull bars on busses save peoples lives by the bus not rolling the vehicle and driving up over it, what happens is the bull bar catches and transports the car and most times the car occupants are uninjured. It is interesting to see a bus catch a car and have it sideway across the front after impact and push the vehicle down the road sideways and the car occupant just step out unharmed after the 90kmh event.
AnswerID: 624290

Reply By: Rob A2 - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 16:10

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 16:10
If you are concerned why not contact the owners of the ADR personally and seek clarification rather than taking this approach.

Used these guys many times over the last 30 years or so and always found them helpful albeit you may not be told what you want to hear at times

Rob Ackland

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AnswerID: 624309

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