Do Police Cars Have Airbags? (All You Need To Know)

Wonder if they come with airbags like most other vehicles. With all those computers, gadgets, cameras, etc. in the front seat, how would that work?

Therefore, since there are so many different police cars, SUVs, trucks, and other vehicles from one city to the next, which police vehicles have airbags and which ones don’t? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!

Do Police Cars Have Airbags?

Although police cars, trucks, and SUVs are different in the way that they’re set up inside and out, when you tear all the extra gadgets, equipment, and performance parts off the vehicle, they are the same vehicles with airbags systems just like any other vehicle on the road.  

If you’d like to learn more about which police cars have airbags, if police cars have side airbags and more, keep reading this article for more useful facts and tips!

What Police Cars Have Airbags?

All police vehicles at least have the normal government-mandated airbag systems. The driver side will have an airbag in the steering wheel and the passenger side will have an airbag in the dashboard.

Do Police Cars Have Side Airbags?

If the manufacturer’s model of the police car has side airbags as a standard on all other cars of the same make and model, then the police car will have the same side airbags unless ordered otherwise.

Do Police SUVs Have Airbags?

Do Police SUVs Have Airbags?

All SUV police cruisers will come with the standard set of front driver-side and passenger side airbags, so if an SUV came standard with side curtain airbags, they will also have those airbags in most cruises. 

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Some SUV cruises may not have the side curtain airbags even if they’re standard to the vehicle.

Since police vehicles are specially ordered, it’s possible a department would order the fleet of cruisers without them for the reason of the center protective plexiglass.  

Do Police Trucks Have Airbags?

There’s no getting away from the mandated front airbag systems, but side airbags are likely not installed in police trucks, since these are specially ordered. When a police vehicle is ordered, they are usually ordered in the most basic form.

Do Detective Police Vehicles Have Airbags?

Police detective vehicles are not usually ordered in a fleet or as a group, so as far as airbags go (depending on what make and model the vehicle is), there’s a possibility that a police detective vehicle has the most airbags of all the police vehicles.

Are There Airbags in the Back Of Police Cars?

The only airbags that are in the backseat of a police car are if the vehicle has been outfitted with side curtain airbags.

Police seat belts are usually put on tight enough that a person in the back won’t go forward enough to hit their head on the police divider.

Furthermore, police cruises are outfitted with different back seats that are set back further to avoid a backseat passenger from being able to hit their head on the police protective plexiglass.

Also, police are specially trained to drive with extreme caution when transporting a back seat occupant – don’t exceed certain speeds, avoid expressways, don’t take chances, don’t engage in any other police activity, etc.

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Can Police Officers Switch Off Their Air Bags?

Can Police Officers Switch Off Their Air Bags?

This depends on department policy, as sometimes the department will not let police officers switch off their airbags for safety reasons.

However, sometimes police departments recommend police officers switch off their airbags if they’re in a slow chase for three reasons:

  • The airbag doesn’t go off during a pit maneuver.
  • If a little bumping and grinding is needed to stop a suspect, this ensures the airbag doesn’t deploy.
  • A quick and easy exit.

Otherwise, all officers are usually required to have the airbags switched on at all other times, especially during high-speed chases.

Can a Police Car Be Ordered Without Airbags?

Ordering a police car without airbags is a decision that comes from the top, but a police vehicle can be ordered in any form requested.

Although it’s against the law to manufacture vehicles for the general public without meeting the standard airbag mandates, it’s not against the law for a corporation to sell a fleet of cars without airbags and other options to agencies.

Do Police Motorcycles Have Airbags?

Since motorcycle airbags are not required equipment by law, some police departments might make their officers use them, and some might give them the choice whether to wear them or not.

Do the Front Technology Objects in a Police Car Get in The Way Of Airbag Deployment?

Airbags deploy with such force that they’re able to knock anything out of the way without puncturing the bag, rendering it useless.

Are Police Airbags Less Sensitive When They’re Deployed?

Depending on how they’re ordered from the factory, manufacturers can make the airbags less sensitive to impact, so they don’t have to be turned off during pit maneuvers and other police activities.

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Can Police Keep Driving if an Airbag Does Deploy?

Can Police Keep Driving if an Airbag Does Deploy?

If a police officer’s airbag deploys and they still need to keep chasing, they can still drive.

The question will be if the officer is injured or if the car is too damaged. If both check out good and no back is there yet, the car and the officer can still engage in the chase.

This would rarely happen, though, because the deployment of an airbag has such a polarizing effect on all of the senses. Therefore, it probably wouldn’t be safe or even possible for an officer to proceed for at least 30 seconds.

To know more, you can also see our posts on what are advanced airbags, if motorcycles have airbags, and if you can put airbags in an old car.


All police cars, trucks, and SUVs at least have front airbags unless otherwise ordered differently from the factory. Other airbag systems like seat and knee airbag systems would differ from department to department – as ordered from the factory.

As far as airbags for back seat passengers, they do not have airbags, but other safety precautions are put in place. The only way airbags will deploy in the backseat is if a cruiser was ordered with full-length side curtain airbags.

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