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MIL just came to our house in her 2002 Durango. She had just gotten into a "bumper tap" with a Scion tC. Her front bumper tapped the left side of the Scion's rear bumper. This was from a stoplight that changed green, MIL just let her foot off the brake pedal and "rolled" into the Scion. (Her story.)

However, when the "tap" occurred, the driver's side SIDE airbag went off in the Scion. (Not the steering wheel airbag.) MIL's Durango sustained no damage, nor did any airbags go off...

The cops stopped and cited my MIL for the "crash" and they have the insurance info and everything. I'm wondering if the Scion owner's insurance company is going to go ballistic when they find they have to cover/process a claim for a side air bag replacement and go through all that fuss about repairing.

This is just a curiosity question: How would a rear bumper tap at low speed set off a side/head airbag, aside from maybe a defect?

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