This purpose is to warn the driver that something has gone wrong. In this case, a malfunction is causing the air bag system, or SRS (Supplemental Restraint System), as it is often referred to, to be turned off.
The cause of this could be anything from a loose wire or a seat belt buckle that needs replacing to a weight sensor which is not functioning properly, to name but a few.
Either way, this means that in the event of an accident occurring, the air bags will not be deployed.
No other vital driving functions are affected by the SRS, whether it is functioning or not, so driving the car in itself is perfectly safe.
In the event of an accident, however, the safety of the driver and/or passenger cannot be guaranteed. Considering the possible consequences of a frontal impact without the added protection of air bags, this means taking a considerable risk.
It is therefore essential to take the car to be checked out by a professional as soon as possible. A professionally performed diagnose will quickly pinpoint the problem.
Once the system has been repaired, it is safe to drive in the knowledge that driver and passengers are adequately protected even in the event of a serous accident.
This may mean a little inconvenience and, depending on the type of car and the actual fault present, some, perhaps sizeable, expense.
Whatever the cost, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Yes, it is safe to drive with the warning light on. It will be safer to drive with the air bags on.