Side air bags never grew into a problem for auto lockouts, 
even though they once were feared.

Have you read the story about the police officer killed while setting off a "side" door air bag?  

The Internet story identified an officer from a Midwest city to have set off the side air bag while opening a vehicle with a Slim Jim tool. The alleged tool exited the door cavity from the force of the air bag deployment and lodged in this throat, killing the officer. This is the basis of the original story as it has been spreading many years.

Law enforcement officials have since investigated the story and found it to be completely false. The police department originally named said no such incident occurred. 

Also, the original story identified the deadly vehicle to be a low end model by Toyota. The vehicle had no air bags much less side air bags. The rumor spread each day with the speed of fax, telex and more Internet messages. Many still believe this could happen, putting at jeopardy the thousands of stranded motorists locked out of their vehicles every day while needing someone to provide the emergency help. Locksmiths, Motor Clubs and Independent Road Service Companies know through five years of experience that there is no danger to opening any vehicle, with or without air bags.

   Basic Side Air Bag History

Side air bags were first installed in either the side of the passenger sear or within a heavy plastic casing within the door cavity. The door cavity design quickly failed, as it was unable to follow the passenger when the seat was positioned forward, back, up, down or reclined. Auto manufacturers world wide quickly went to, and has ever since, stayed with the bag deploying from the side of the seat design. Never again will you see a door cavity design within a door cavity.

There are only two models of concern, Cadillac Deville, '97 through '98, and it's upscale sister, Cadillac Concours '97 through '98, both of which have the air bag installed within the door cavity. Cadillac has redesigned those models and the Z-Tool Manual clearly makes notes of those models involved. No one has reported any trouble with opening these vehicles. Understand, people are locked out of these vehicles every day. To fire an air bag, you would have to strip insulation off the fire wire and a second wire with live voltage, and then touch both strip points together. Also, the ignition must be in the on position for the system to be active. Don't be concerned with damage to the bag itself either, as it is held within a heavy gauge plastic capsule about the size of a football.

Now that every model has the side air bags installed in the side of the seats, there are no complications of unlocking a vehicle within the door cavity. For those few models with the air bag in the door cavity, we make the comment at the index of the Z-Tool Manual concerning those models. 

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