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AMG's Airbag & Integrated Seatbelt Issues

62648 Views 284 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Teutone
AMG is the only auto co. utilizing the "integrated seatbelt design" (shoulder harness attached to top of seat only), in vehicles exceeding 500hp now (all CL & SL AMG vehicles).

Does anybody ever question the ability of an integrated seatbelt to perform in vehicles powerful enough to require 5-point safety harnesses per NHRA guidelines (<12sec 1/4 mile)?

Does anybody ever question the ability of the airbag's deccelerometer to function in these highly modified AMG vehicles? Or if AMG modified the base models' safety systems when making all other modifications?

I experienced a low-speed high-acceleration head on collision in a 2003 CL55 where both systems' design proved insufficient. The seat back bent forward by over 40-degrees without a scratch or bruise to my right shoulder and I incurred a 10-staple laceration to the back of my head against the moonroof. It started from an automatic downshift (another feature worth revisiting). The front of the CL55 was sheared off before any decceleration. A simple electro-mechanical push button sensor/over ride will tell the airbag deployment module that the vehicle is crumpling for a timely airbag deployment. Mercedes is now putting up a disgraceful fight. It's going to be an example of either poor engineering or real poor management/love for the all mighty dollar (since the same seats are used across all CL & SL's for over a decade now). The unbelted driver sustained a 10x14cm hemorrhage to his occipital scalp area.

If you're going to wreck in your CL or SL AMG, use the break before attempting to transmit impact energy to the other vehicle by using the gas. In this example both drivers braced on the accelerators from relatively low speeds. The CLK is a good example of the proper shoulder belt connection for the CL class. The SLK and SLR are good examples of what the SL class should be equipped with.
Mark Soliman


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What was your speed at the moment of impact? Looks like it must have been high-speed looking at the pictures

What happened to the limodriver?
We were traveling approx. 25mph upon an automatic downshift exiting a last curve that woke me up (second 1), then a brief recovery attempt off throttle (second 2), then the limo merging into his lane at speed (approx. 45mph - Second 3) then both drivers braced on the accelerators for impact (witnesses heard no skidding - Seconds 4 and 5).

I know we actually accelerated into the limo so we were anywhere between 25-45mph at impact (had about 0.5-1sec of full throttle pull beforehand).

One person in the limo (the driver) and two in the CL55 (driver and rear seat passenger) died that night.

EVERYONE assumed it was a wreckless high speed collision based on the results. Irony is I'd personally drive that curve at full throttle at high speeds to prove the CL55 would have never left its lane in the first place that way (we would have wrecked thru the curve, not after the curve given enough velocity).

Definitely freak, but something worth fighting for since base-model MB safety systems are counterproductive in their high performance AMG counterparts. I watched the driver brace as if the airbag would deploy while I sensed it would not and raised my left limbs. That was the difference between death and life. I'm an engineer which helped evaluate the situation as it was happening and design my best chance at survival.

Keep in mind the CL55 is a 4400lb tank and the limo is probably around 4500-5000lbs which adds to the momentum and thus damage.
High velocity head-on collisions result in rear-vehicle deflections, not front end displacements. High acceleration on the other hand, plants the rears and displaces the front ends. I clearly recall the rear seat passenger flying past me in the middle of the vehicle just before I took flight myself (he nudged my left shoulder which was in a guard position).


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Did the two people killed in the Mercedes use their seat-belts?
Looking at the pictures it looks like the Mercedes had a lot less structural damages than the limo. You were the front-seat passenger in the CL?

Sorry to hear they didn´t make it :(
The driver and the rear-seat passenger of the Mercedes Benz CL55 did not have their seatbelts on. The rear seat passenger was positioned over the rear center console permitting him to fly into the dash/windshield without "taking out" a front seat occupant (he did nudge my left shoulder/seat but not enough to slow him down from brain damage sustained against the confluence between the windshield and dashboard). If the driver had his seatbelt on his seat back would have bent forward just like mine did pinning him against the steering wheel which would have either crushed him upon airbag deployment or held him in a burning vehicle in lieu of walking out (his aortic artery, liver, lung, and ribs were ripped apart against the steering wheel but had his limbs in tact).

The limo had a rust spot over the driver's door which permitted it to crumple (which instantly killed the limo driver). That's why the passenger side of the CL55 looks straight. However, the driver's side of the CL55 buckled at the rear of the door sill (shown by enclosed photo). Although the limo's engine and transmission are nowhere to be seen and the CL55's engine appears in its general vicinity the CL55 did 'spear' into that limo with 516ftlbs of torque peaking out. The dynamics of a crash are substantially affected when that much power is applied.

I was the front seat passenger of the CL55.

Appreciate it, but the truth is none of us stood a chance.
I'm not writing this to bash Mercedes Benz name. Rather, I'm writing this to make other AMG owners fully aware of the SL & CL shortcomings. Also, it's not responsible for a company to sell $150,000++ 500-650hp 'supercars' that are simply modified versions of their $80,000 base model 300hp, 4400lb luxury counterparts, with no effort to scale up its safety systems. An integrated seatbelt has no place in a 'supercar'. It's a situation developed by attorneys past lawsuits pertaining to SUV's, and permitted by attorneys and/or managers to save a buck by standardizing the same seat across two base models and two AMG models (CL & SLs). And I'm going to prove to Mercedes that they were negligent in doing so by crashing a CL55 and a CL500 at full throttle at 30mph. Mercedes is claiming it doesn't matter what kind of power the vehicle enters a crash with, it'll still sense the same 'crash severity'. If you threw a frozen egg against a brick wall it'll probably shatter. But if you pushed a frozen egg into a brick wall hard enough it'll probably dislodge bricks. That's how a deccelerometer works. It won't sense deceleration while being pushed through a crash. It'll lose its connection with the computer first, and by the time the computer reacts to wires being severed, it's far too late to deploy the airbags.

I'll continue being treated like a 2nd rate humanuntil I have my day in front of a jury with published test results in hand. It's a shame MB is going to take it this far. They'll make Toyota look like saints.


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What exactly is the problem here?

There was a head-on crash between a Mercedes and a Limo. The impact was severe enough to destroy the front of both vehicles. The Limo driver and also the unbelted occupants of the Mercedes were killed by impact forces.

But, the sensible seat-belted passenger in the Mercedes survived with only a cut to his head...and now he wants to sue Mercedes for surviving?
The problem lies in the utilization of integrated seatbelts in high performance vehicles and the need to either modify the airbag deployment system or eliminate the airbag altogether in high performance vehicles (latter not being the sensible choice). And in the coming electric conversions (anything with high torque).

A belted driver would have burnt to death, before being able to die from his internal injuries imposed against the steering wheel w/o an airbag. Or he would have been crushed to death between an untimely airbag deployment and failed seat back. He was most fortunate not to be belted too so he can die outside of the vehicle an hour later.
The 'sensible' front passenger had to have both his left femur and forearm broken into four pieces (each), and his face smashed into a dash before incurring the rear-head laceration against the moon roof by the late airbag deployment. 'Only a cut to his head' is laughable. Math must not be your subject.

I'm suing Mercedes for utilizing safety designs in a modified vehicle that rendered the safety designs not only useless, but clearly capable of imposing additional harm. If you still refuse to understand the simplistic nature of this problem, the results of my crash tests will eliminate all doubt, or judgment.

And the front end of both vehicles would not have been 'destroyed' if the CL55 didn't continue to gain acceleration thru the front end of that limo.

I suppose you believe we should credit Mercedes for my survival irregardless of actual records showing otherwise? They did. I would have preferred an injury to my right shoulder and an airbag to land against vs. throw me by my face against the moonroof after I finally came to a rest. That's what I'm suing Mercedes for. As well as what I experienced against their dashboard without restraint. I suppose you believe it's proper to permit these issues to continue and have others die as a result? Sorry, but I'm not 'God' so I'm not entitled to do nothing nor pass judgment.
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Hi virage,

It is an absolute tragedy to be involved in a fatal accident with friends and my heart goes out to you.

But, don't you see the irony in trying to sue Mercedes for the design of the seat-belt that was solely responsible for saving your life?

thanks for taking your time to explain.

However, whouldn´t it be more natural that the frontseatback would bend on the side where the seatbelt is mounted and not on the other side shown on the pictures? It looks like the rear passenger hit the frontseat flying forward.

The airbags can be trigged in two different stages depending on your weight and speed of the vehicle. 45mhp is on the limit of what a body can take whatever car you are sitting in if it comes to a stop this brutal

have a nice day;)
As I said, I did sense the rear passenger nudge my left shoulder before I took flight myself. So his right shoulder most likely clipped the left side of my seat back (giving it the slight twist you see). My upper body still yanked that seat back forward as I took flight towards the dashboard. For 2-months I swore I couldn't have had my seatbelt on until a first respondent reminded me otherwise (with a vehicle on fire I was more focused on sliding my mangled left leg out of the vehicle than unbuckling myself which he did). For 2-years I convinced myself I must have inadvertently slid out of the shoulder harness while raising my left guard and have myself to blame since without a belt I cannot have issue against the airbag. Then I discovered a case report exists and retrieved these photographs to see the truth of my experience. As an engineer I could not fathom a seat back failing without an injury to my right shoulder. Like the unbuckling of the belt by a respondent, I finally recalled an extremely uncomfortable seat position while trying to hook and slide my mangled left leg out of the burning vehicle (probably the reason why it was so difficult to do so in the first place).

I would have greatly appreciated a timely airbag deployment. And the driver would have too. If then, the limit of its capability was exceeded at least I wouldn't have a bald spot on the rear of my head reminding me that a push button over-ride is justified. It'll also help solve the 'pothole' premature airbag deployment issue being discussed as well (the over-ride can double as a confirmation sensor depending on which sensor is triggered first). We're talking about <$100 of mechanical-electrical sensors and wiring, and some code revisions here. This isn't rocket science. As of the seatbelt, why does NHRA require 5-point harnesses connected to a roll cage in 12sec cars? Why doesn't Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Lexus, Nissan, Lamborghini, McLaren, Buegotti, Factory Five Racing, Chevrolet, Ford or even DTM Mercedes utilize integrated seatbelts in their supercars?

Push aside your passion for Mercedes-Benz products, put on your objective cap without judgment and just think about this. I'm putting my time and effort into fighting this, paying for crash tests and discussing the truth of this issue not because I have people who've died on my shoulders (believe me, they have it better than we do), but because i have people that will die on my shoulders. Technology is no substitute for Common Sense.
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Claiming the integrated seatbelt design is "solely responsible for saving my life" is as outrageous as your claim that I only sustained a scratch on the back of my head. I didn't see a warning label on that seatbelt claiming in order for it to save a life one must break their femur and forearm into four pieces (each) against the dashboard. Yes, I'm being sarcastic now.

And nothing stopped me from dieing when my head hit that dashboard without restraint either. I pushed myself back after my own death. If I were "lawsuit happy" don't you think I would have taken action shortly after June 11, 2006? Truth is I was on a plane within 5-days learning how to walk again to avoid blood clots simply to do everything I can to maintain my life as I knew it before visiting an old friend for his daughter's Christening.

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. But truth, truth is something that nobody can deny with logic. Mercedes-Benz integrated seatbelt design can only be credited for about 10% of what a seatbelt is intended to do. Simply because it did keep me from flying thru the windshield. But a '70's Pinto's seatbelt would have done a better job restraining me than this $185,000 AMG 'supercar' / 'luxury car conversion's seatbelt did. Please enlighten us as to why the Mercedes Benz "Black" SL65 does not have the same front seats and integrated seatbelts as the SL65 AMG? Why would the "same" company mount real seatbelts onto a real roll cage instead of using integrated counterparts when the horsepower of the two cars are exactly the same?

I do see the irony in the judgment that so many feel entitled to take on without any display of logic. Did you read what I sacrificed for life before claiming Mercedes is "solely responsible for saving my life"? Still better than the person that once insisted I split the back/top of my head open while coming to a rest ('recoil') against the head rest. When you can realize what it means to raise your limbs in defense of your life knowing your going to mangle them, and still lose your fight, then you may see just how ridiculous your claim is. If I didn't raise my guard and simply braced myself outward in preparation for impact (as if an airbag would deploy) like the driver did, what credit would you wrongfully claim for Mercedes Benz design then? I already know I would have been dead cause with all I threw at survival, I still failed my fight.

The first thing I told the driver while I was drifting this CL55 at 90mph around a right hand curve across 3-lanes was "don't EVER let this thing automatically downshift itself". Performance is not something to be served to the lazy. It is something that demands focus, concentration and work to ensure the driver is in control of the vehicle, not the other way around. This last part is my 'opinion' of how AMG should revise the automatic downshift code to make the driver manually select and be in the proper gear before applying >40% throttle. While saving the life of their transmissions. Ever hear of a reverse valve body transmission Oz? There's nothing new under the sun, until a company with a name like AMG and Mercedes attempts to save a buck in a $185,000 vehicle by paying no dues to standardized safety systems designed around a vehicle with much less performance. I don't think I'm asking for much here Oz. Put yourself in my shoes before throwing your claims at me as you have been. Shall we credit Mercedes Benz with the rust spot shown above the driver of the limo too? Cause I don't think I would have been able to return to a livable body if that energy wasn't absorbed either. Please show me your logic? Show me another 'supercar' with the same seatbelt system. Cause what stops someone from putting in 3000ftlbs of electric motor torque, or strapping a rocket beneath a supercar without making any changes to a base-model's safety systems if someone like me doesn't finally stand and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? Don't need another new law to exercise this elementary level of common sense. I wasn't the driver, I was the passenger. I wouldn't spend this much money for a car that gives absolutely no consideration to the occupants' safety.


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The injury to your head was the only injury that you mentioned that you had in your posts prior to my first post...I am not a clairvoyant mate.

Have you considered that the injury to your head may have been caused by an unrestrained mass of about 80kg that was in the backseat prior to the collision? This same mass may have pushed your seat-back forward and distorted it even move forward at the top left corner than the right side to which the the seatbelt was attached? This unrestrained mass may have contributed to the other injuries you suffered, especially to your left arm?

The facts would appear to be that a Mercedes had a head-on collision. Two of the three occupants died. One occupant survived. The two occupants that died were not wearing seatbelts. The surviving occupant was wearing a seatbelt. An fair-minded and uninvolved observer is entitled to draw his own conclusions from the presented facts.

A bit of free advice if you intend going the legal route mate...First of all leave the emotional baggage of the accident behind.

Secondly, control your passion, anger and venom...these have no place in accident investigations.

Thirdly, base your conclusions on on logical engineering argument drawn from the factual data that the evidence of the accident debris actually shows.

Fourthly, pay to some independent accident investigation and analysis expert (say from the NTSB) to provide you with some help.

Fifthly, take stock of your life. Don't let this event become a holy crusade that ends up destroying your health and sanity and sends you to an early grave. You have already survived a disaster. It's not your fault that your friends didn't wear their seatbelts.

Sixthly, there may be people out there that are trying to help you. Put your engineering hat on so that you can read other poster's comments and glean helpful data and discard other data without becoming emotionally involved.

...spend some quality time on and with your family.
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You assumed a rear head injury in the head-on collision with photos presented was "the only injury sustained". And then you offensively addressed me with that assumption. I don't expect you to be a clairvoyant, just not offensively judgmental.

I experienced the rear head injury in full consciousness. In fact, my first thought/action upon returning into my body was "damn, the airbag hasn't deployed" as I started to pull back with all my might as it went off throwing me upward against the moonroof. I do appreciate this opportunity to consider a stranger's point of view. Respondents pulled the rear seat passenger from the dash/center consul area. As I've said, his head was smashed against the confluence of the windshield/dash (brain damage for 6-hours before death). This is consistent with the location of his shoes in the enclosed photo. My first femur break was via a twist against the center consul, then/same moment my left shoulder got nudged by the rear seat passenger, then the right side of both my knees smashed into the dash board breaking my left femur again while my left fore arm came upon the dashboard (immediately following my 2nd femur break) snapping both forearm bones like twigs, then my head came upon my left hand against the dashboard (as I tried to tighten up knowing I was out of limbs to break/absorb energy). One never forgets the order of his injuries while he's fighting for his life while checking his milestones to ensure he's going to live. Moment my head hit, my spirit was out easier than I ever imagined possible. The veil was as thin as cellophane, yet so far. I would have loved to stay, but I knew one person had to live and already knew everyone else was dead (by their positions pre-impact). Put yourself in my shoes. I didn't lose my friends. They lost me. I'm the one visiting for selfless reasons.

A fair minded observer must ask themselves "why did both front seat occupants incur rear/top-head injuries?", "why is the steering wheel bent into the dash?", "were they traveling fast enough to 'beat the airbags'?". Given the rear seat passenger's post-accident location, it is not feasible to conclude that he could have imposed all that damage to both front seat occupants. Somebody once claimed "he must have 'bounced' around". Nobody has asked such questions, or reasoned the answers to them with me.

The only emotions I have over this matter is due to the fact of people's display of judgment without reason. I welcome reason without judgment. But judgment seems to be an uncontrollable passion of so many. Why do you think the 2010 SL65 Black Series no longer has the integrated seatbelts used in the 2009 models? Weight? Are you considering the weight of the roll cage the shoulder harnesses are connected to?

I don't need to conclude anything here. I was 100% conscious and simply have to summarize my experience using the records to support reality. It's when other people draw conclusions/judgment without supportable logic or even consideration of the facts/records presented that annoys me.

And that's why I am arranging 2 crash tests as stated. Since this is a design problem, it will recreate itself over and over. Observing the difference between a CL55 and a CL500 impacting a frontal barrier at full acceleration at 30mph will support my experience.

My life is still in survival mode. One would not believe the extent of the "weak chicken down" syndrome of human nature until they stood in my shoes at this time. If one chicken appears weak, others surround him and peck him to death. Humans are no different except they are smart enough to illogically convince themselves that another is weak when he is not, and peck away. Not here-say but now 7-legal battles raging as a result (and I never had a single claim in my life). As I've already said (please read all my statements), this has nothing to do with my dead friends. They are more fortunate than you and me now. This has to do with simple justice, simple design practices, and future deaths.

Help is non-existent since anybody that has experienced this is dead which is why I am spending $100,000 on real crash tests to make my point beyond any reasonable doubt. It's a shame that it will have the potential of exposing Mercedes Benz design and business weaknesses. But they insist on it so it's not as if I have any options in this entire matter. I'm not the kind of guy that goes walking off into the sunset (if so, the last thing I would have done was return here from where I was). I returned with a simple (yet challenging) commitment. Anything that stands in the path of that commitment I will address first. This is nothing more than an obstacle in my path now (all 7-legal battles actually). I don't walk from unfinished business. I deal with it, and then move forward. Fortunately, no wife or children have to experience this alongside me. My fiancée knew I had to take this path alone within months after that tragedy. She knew it wasn't just about my physical healing and getting used to a few old friends being somewhere else, and thank God since now she is living her life without this delay.

I'll have a newfound appreciation for life when I can finally live without the shackles someday. It's been 4-years and will take another 1-2 years. Yeah it may suck, but it's humbling and there's nothing else I can do about it anyway so it is what it is. I don't count years anymore. My life is now marked by milestones. Fortunately, I'm not aging, yet.

I've even posted the rear head injuries . Just reason with me as you finally started to. I love objective criticism. It evolves us. It'll also make for a better product when this is done (unfortunately now only available in a $250,000++ model contrary to its own AMG counterparts).


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I'm sure you've been talking back and forth with Mercedes about this, have they shown any test data for the CL class? Testing of low production models isn't required by law so that data won't be available to the public, but Mercedes tends to do a lot of in house testing that might be interesting to see.

Just from looking at the data in this thread I would be inclined to say that the crash was very severe and beyond the design limits of the car, which is why you were injured (aside from the apparent airbag failure). The fact that no crash tests are available for the car should tell you that it was not designed with safety as a high priority. Yes, all of the expected safety features are present but a $185,000 car is designed to do one thing and that is to go fast. When the target marked is families they design a car with safety as #1. Basically if you want to be completely safe it isn't a good idea to get a car that isn't crash tested. Not that you had a choice since it was your friend's car, I'm just pointing out a possible reason for the lower than expected performance in the crash.
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Mercedes has shown no crash test data for the CL.
They have expressed interest in attending my crash tests.
I don't believe its a 'limited production' matter since there are crash tests available for AMG's new SLS.

If a frontal barrier crash test at 30mph at full throttle re-demonstrates my experience, then the "design limits of the car" are 'not sufficient'. One femur break may have been expected provided a functional seatbelt and airbag. What I experienced is most certainly not (a rear-head injury). Keep in mind that the $185,000 CL is not a 'supercar'. It's a modified version of a standard $80,000 luxury sedan. If I were a passenger in an Enzo, and it splintered right up albeit I was still held in my seat (dead), that's acceptable. But when you step into a 4400lb luxury sedan that was converted to a performance car, as a passenger, you expect its safety systems to be scaled up accordingly. If a passenger has to consider whether a converted luxury sedan was crash tested or not, or designed for families or not (the CL is a luxury sedan with comfortable rear seats), than a huge warning etching in the passenger side glass window is necessary. Since that's just not realistic, a company is responsible to take the initiative to modify a base model safety systems when making substantial performance modifications rather than attempt to hide behind federal safety standards. A passenger should also never have to experience full throttle being maintained during an impact (in either a CL or an Enzo). I don't believe federal safety standards need to change here. It's not the feds job to draw a line somewhere >450hp or <450hp, or >50% power increases....unless you believe in living under a Fascist Rule. It's a manufacturer's responsibility to ensure their products function as intended. That's what my crash tests will demonstrate. The difference between the safety system's performance in a CL500 and a CL55 when impacting a frontal barrier at 30mph at full throttle. From my own experience, the results will be profoundly different. At 30mph the rate of acceleration of the CL55 is exponentially greater than at 60mph. And if there's ANY difference in performance, there is a serious problem here.

Otherwise what stops me from throwing a V12 twin turbo'd engine or insane electric motor in a Hyandai Accent, throwing a different badge on it and selling it to anybody who believes it was designed/built as a performance supercar if I won't be held responsible for how its safety systems perform (or don't) given the added power? Even at the FMVSS crash test speeds of just 30mph? Rules are not intended to justify ignorant design or manufacturing practices. They're intended to set minimum standards. The feds don't need to be bothered with an idiot willing to modify a standard vehicle with a rocket and market it to an uninformed buyer. That's the idiot's problem. Not ours.
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Thanks for sharing the report with us.

I have comments on two issues:

1. If you look to the right passenger seat where the seatbelt is fixed on top, you see that this side did bend over to the front; also something seems to be broken on the top.
I think it is fair to raise the question, whether this part is stiff enough to withstand all loads coming from a crash.
As a rule of thumbs, it should withstand at least 30g, i.e. the force which corresponds to 30 times of the weight of the passenger.
If it is not stiff enough, it bends to the front, not sufficienty preventing the passenger from hitting the dashbord.
Anyway, Mercedes has a long track record in designing these types of integrated seat belts, i.e. for the Viano Minivan. I have seen those, and they look really VERY stiff and the supports seem to be made of hardest steal.

I would trust those seats more than any other seats!

However, when you say "bent forward by over 40-degrees without a scratch or bruise to my right shoulder" this is an argument that the seat was not stiff enough, I must agree.

2. You complain that the airbags seem to have blown-up too late when you already have touched the dashbord.
Mercedes-Benz is using a step-wise approach in blowing-up the airbags.
If the decceleration is low enough that the belt can prevent you from severe injury, only the belt pretension system is released and not the airbag. Considered you use the belt. If you did not buckle-up, the airbag is deployed immediately.
This has two benefits: First saving the risk of airbag explosion and saving money for repair if not necessary. Second: if a car has first a quite light crash and then a second very heavy one, the life saving deployment of the airbag is not wasted on the first decceleration but can be used for the second heavy one.
So without knowing anything about your accident, could it have been, that there was a quite "long duration" crash into this long limousine? Maybe the first 20 cm of the front of the limousine where so weak (compared to the Mercedes) that the airbag sensor decided NOT to deploy the airbags and only deployd the belt retention system. Then suddenly the decceleration was so strong (because hitting say the engine of the limousine) that then the airbags where deployed.
If this hypothesis would be true (I point out: only a hypthesis), then the system saved your life. Because: If the airbag would have been deployed earlier, it would not be able to prevent you at time of the much more heavy shock in the deccelation process. So pushing you back to the roof could have been the better alternative than having no airbag available (because blown-up and released already a 1/10 of sec before) and fully touching the dashbord with your face.

Of course, this is just a hypthesis to think about.

All the best

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Using the Momentum due to acceleration/decel + Momentum of head-on limo + Momentum of my body (all in lbft/sec) divided by est. speed at impact (ft/sec) divided by my weight (lb) I get approx. 35g's. Interesting method.

The head-on collision was with two opposing vehicles each traveling between approx. 40-50mph at impact but both at full acceleration. The impact "pulse" or duration was approx. 1sec. I recall accelerating through the nose of the limo while both cars crumpled. Before airbag deployment (after my head hit the dash and after we came to a rest) I attempted to pull myself back to get away from an airbag yet to deploy (that's when it deployed). I'm actually under the impression the airbag accelerometers are on a normally open circuit and its severed wires had to find a short to finally deploy the bags. Versus a normally closed circuit that would have still released the airbags once the accelerometers were destroyed/severed (they are in the front corners of the front bumper and those corners were long gone when the airbags deployed). I would have sustained one less injury (the 10-staple laceration to my occipital scalp) if the vehicle was not equipped with airbags.

It really just sucks for both me and Mercedes but we gotta take care of this issue given from 2003 to 2010 the CL55 gained another 250ftlbs of torque. A car with 750ftlbs of torque should not be designed by legal limits and fed. statutes they are currently attempting to hide behind. It should be designed by logic and the ability of its safety systems to work as intended with the additional power options. So far Mercedes is adamantly fighting me. But after these coming 3-weeks of depositions and all formal records received directly (vs. thru me), they see the truth in this matter. Either that or this will become a great disgrace for both of us (they'll focus on drama of time and wrong lane off an automatic downshift lunge while I go crash a CL500 and CL55, then publish the results). It will define who they are and how much more harm they will negligently impose against me (at intentional will).

It's like warping into a twilight zone you never asked for during a freak 3-seconds. 4+ years later I'm still living it daily. We'll see if they chose to bank off of that vs. stand up and do something about their products' insufficient design.
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couple questions-

How do you know that was an automatic downshift and not a driver overcorrection or even a lump of ice that woke you up? From the pics, it looks like the MB lost control around the corner on ice or snow, and slid into the limo's lane.

How do you know for sure that both vehicles accelerated into the accident? As you said, you were asleep less than 2 seconds before.

Is the curve blind? How can we assume that the drivers of both vehicles even saw each other 2 seconds prior to to impact?

How do you know how fast the limo was going? As you said, everyone thinks its a high speed accident, curious how you are establishing this fact

How do you know how fast the MB was going? Same as above

Im not asking these questions to defend MB or attack you, but Im trying to figure out how you have established these factors, especially in relation to filing a successful lawsuit. You said yourself you were A, asleep, and B, unaware that you were even wearing a seatbelt until much later.

It would be childs play to create doubt that you knew what speeds the accident took place at, what downshifting was taking place, or generally what was going on before or during the accident. This is IF, your memory is the only evidence you have of these things happening.

To defend against your opinion, id just have to ask how you can know the vehicle downshifted and not know that you were wearing a seatbelt, especially if whatever it was that woke you took place mere seconds before impact.
Unfortunately, from what you have written, it seems almost impossible that you could successfully sue MB without additional proof of these factors.

Even a demonstration crash test does what? You are not recreating the events of the crash, but crashing vehicles into a solid barrier based on how you think the crash took place unless you have other evidence. To defend against that, all a defense attorney would have to do would point out the differences, and ask similar questions to the above questions.

I can guess that the way MB would defend itself would be to say, as the pictures seem to suggest, that the driver of the MB was speeding, lost control around a curve, drifted into the other lane, and crashed into a limo. How and why and what are unknown factors, but what is definitely known is that both cars are destroyed in such a way as to suggest high speed, and that the MB is in the wrong lane, and that conditions were poor. Then MB would say the two passengers not wearing seatbelts were killed, and the one asleep immediately before the accident and wearing a seatbelt was severely injured, yet lived. Then they would say that the survivor of the MB is understandably upset and looking for a source to blame.

Unless you can prove to a jury definite concrete facts of speed, what was going on, downshifting, the above scenario would be hard to successfully attack, and I would imagine a Jury would easily believe that a high power sports car driver lost control around a curve at speed and caused a huge accident. That theory is supported by the pictures, unless you can prove otherwise.

The final most important question is WHY are you posting this topic while the specifics of the case are not yet resolved?

ANY lawyer would tell you to say nothing to anyone about anything concerning your case, yet you are posting away on a forum. What you are creating is a chain of discoverable evidence for MB.

Look at it objectively, they could easily portray this and other posts as evidence of someone who has been severally emotionally and physically distressed by this tragedy, has understandable motives, yet these same motives are ultimately misguided and represents what he wished happened, not what did happen.

If I were you, I would discuss the presence of this and your other threads with you lawyer, see what he/she says you should do, and perhaps delete or remove them until the case is settled one way or another. Im not a lawyer, but its certainly possibly that posting these pictures on a public forum could make them inadmissible as evidence for the case. Your first priority should be to talk to your lawyer about this thread and other posts concerning your case, and do what you can to protect the case, not prove your point on a forum.
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I am sorry to hear that your friends were killed in this collision. I hope this doesn't sound trite, but I offer my condolences.

I'm not an engineer or a safety expert so I'm not qualified to add anything worth considering to this discussion.

One thing is baffling me. Unless I have misread your account, it's said that both cars accelerated before/during the impact. I'm trying to understand why, in an emergency situation/pending head on, both drivers allegedly hit the gas? I'm puzzled as to why neither driver hit the brakes (fair point that even if they had, the impact still would have been severe, and that there is an argument that says at times its better to power-out of a possible collision, than brake into one).
That white stuff is fire foam. Road conditions were dry. CL55 AMG caught fire after collision. One doesn't forget the slap of 516ftlbs of torque partially spooled up as that lower gear engages. Police Detectives scanned the road for asphalt gouging and brake marks and there was none. 40-golf players were sitting in a parking lot and one witness said he heard absolutely nothing but the impact (no braking or skidding).

One wakes up fast when figuring out how they will utilize their own limbs to save their life. I watched and felt the driver brace straight out and since the limo's headlights weren't nosing down and a witness didn't hear skidding, its clear the driver was braced on the accelerator too.

Both curves are real tight (not conducive of high speeds). During the lunge recovery attempt, myself and the driver watched the limo exit the Bethpage State Golf Course at speed (landing right in front of us).

Limo speed is a good question. I estimate 40-45mph based on how fast his lights approached but he must have been a good driver to navigate his exit/merge curve at that speed (possibly even using the entire exit road).

The CL55 AMG lunge was from a 25-30mph roll (slow enough for me to close my eyes again after passing a witnesses vehicle 1/4-mile prior - crossing a double yellow line adding to the judgment factor). Probably lunged to 40mph, then back down to 30 before bracing for impact which accelerated it into the limo.

I welcome all questions as I have nothing to hide here and seek a design change for these high powered vehicle's safety systems. I re-awoke upon pulling behind the slow car we passed (25mph is too slow to sleep in a CL55 AMG). Made sure the driver passed him safely (albeit over a double yellow line) and slowed back down. Then closed my eyes just before the lunge. As an engineer I convinced myself for 2-years that I inadvertently slid out of my belt to reach the dashboard as I did (and thus, blamed myself). Until I discovered the Police Report and photos to see the failed seatback (couldn't believe it without a noted right shoulder injury). A witness deposition confirms he unbuckled me. I always where my seatbelt.

My memory supported by evidence of recordings taken at the scene (24-page Police/Homicide Report with video, dimensions, photos, inspections...statements).

The downshift is what woke me. The seatbelt is why I sat in the front seat, buckled myself and fell asleep in the first place. I only reasoned myself out of the belt due to the fact I didn't have a right shoulder injury. An ICU nurse witnessed me poking at my right shoulder as if fishing for a bruise. That's the engineer in me not believing in what can't be logically deduced. I couldn't fathom a seat back failure without a serious shoulder injury.

I'm trying to recover part of my life back to fund the crash tests of a CL500 and a CL55 AMG (30mph frontal barrier at max acceleration) which Mercedes is claiming there will be absolutely no difference "whatsoever" in the results. Physics defines an acceleration-vector that says otherwise. 30mph is an FMVSS standard frontal barrier speed. It's Mercedes' responsibility to know its "unreasonable" to offer power options >50% of the base power without scaling up the safety systems accordingly (so they at least work).

Vehicle positions implicate high acceleration (front end displacements, not rear end). No skidding/asphalt gouging. Real tight curves. Uphill gradient. If I were upset I would have file suit against my friend's estate in 2006. But I couldn't since I witnessed his reaction to that downshift and torque lunge. I'm upset I have a scar on the back/top of my head as a result of this and knew the airbag would fail going into it (that engineering background again).

I am going to publish this case and my crash test results in an effort to locate a qualified attorney before going to trial. Since I cannot lie and don't have the memory to recall lies, all I can do is tell it as it occurred.

3 issues of litigation...1. loss of vehicle control - driver's intent or vehicle's uncontrollable condition, 2. failed seat back - Mercedes covered this one with a claim that I wasn't belted, another claim the rear seat passenger knocked me out of the shoulder belt, and another one that its preempted by FMVSS, and 3. failed airbag system - which connects to 1 and 2 since acceleration is the common denominator here and rear/top-head injuries incurred by both front seat occupants are hard to ignore (even though Mercedes hasn't acknowledge that fact in 1.25-years, 150-documents and 2-fed jurisdictions).

I don't wish any of this. Don't really suffer from emotional or "PTSD" or any stresses other than survival of this "peck the weak chicken down to death" syndrome of human nature I'm experiencing. I wish I landed in an airbag and my seatback didn't fail. Anything to prevent my head from hitting my left hand over that dash. Now I wish to have my life back. Cease the 13-resulting litigations I'm surround in (never had a single claim in my life, not even workers comp or lost $$/unhappy client after $30M of infrastructure improvement projects over a decade as an Environmental Engineer).

I'm a pro-se plaintiff since no lawyer wants to touch this without a 4-year old fire damaged CL55 AMG and a hook into the driver's estate (immediately after the incident). Besides I've spent over $40k in the past 2-years on all my other litigations which is all I could afford.

I'm a dead duck about to be popped to death by all those standing on me. With a commitment I carry from my thru-death experience against the CL55 AMG dashboard. When all I want is to get my life back and complete serving my commitment so I can move on.

The truth is defending myself under such circumstances was one of the most selfless or dumbest things I've ever done. Not sure which one just yet but there's little difference.

Plus I want people to know what they are buying when they pick up a vehicle no reaching 750ftlb of torque with the same seats I sat in on June 11, 2006. Same seats carried-over across 10-models now (CL500, 55, 63, 65, black, SL500, 55, 63, 65, black). Except for the new blacks where they ditched the one-size-fits-all, designed-by-law front seats.

Mercedes is trying to take credit for my life. I'm the only one in that CL55 AMG that sustained broken limbs. The driver took it in the chest against the steering wheel since he expected an airbag to fill the void between his bent out arms, and the rear-seat passenger to the head against the windshield/dash. None of us stood a chance. Why I returned to serve as the guy that says "Enough is enough" is beyond me. We were blessed with so many projects on our plates, someone had to return to serve them yet everyone is trying to undo them all.

I didn't think I'd last 1-year since I knew it would be bad so I cannot complain. It has certainly been a walk of faith although I'm so much of an engineer I like to see the other side of the bridge before proceeding.
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