Defective Air Bag: Cause of Injury rather than a Device for Safety


A research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the top four causes of death in car-related accidents: drunk-driving; speeding; distracted driving; and, bad weather. In all four causes, the research also showed that those who suffered the severest injuries and those who died on the spot of the accident were either drivers or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt.

While seatbelts remain thus far the best devices for restraining vehicle driver and passengers, saving them from impacts and crashes that can either severely injure them or cause their untimely death, another device, which is a perfect supplement to seatbelts has been introduced – the air bag, also known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 or FMVSS 208.

Designed as a vehicle safety device, air bags provide a cushion between the occupants and solid objects inside the car, like the windows, the dash board and the steering wheel and, thus, lessen the possibility of crash injuries. These are made from flexible nylon fabric, folded into the steering wheel, dashboard and other areas of the car, and are connected to a sensor which makes them inflate quickly during moderate or severe collisions.

The use of car air bags was first introduced by Ford in 1971; General Motors followed suit in 1973, incorporating the air bag in their Chevrolets. It was not until July 11, 1984, however, when the U.S. government mandated that cars manufactured after April 1, 1989, ought to be equipped with a passive restraint, such as a seat belt or an air bag and, through the motivation of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this same mandate was applied on light trucks beginning in 1997.

The 2,788 lives saved because of air bags only show that the device is effective. However, one cannot simply dismiss reports on how some air bags have malfunctioned or never functioned at all, causing severe injuries or death instead of protecting and saving a life.

Aware of automobile defects, the website of Habush & Rottier, S.C., indicates the three top reasons how air bags can cause injuries:

  • Air bags inflating even when there is no collision
  • Inflating ahead of time and then immediately deflating, failing to provide the needed cushion during actual impact
  • Late deployment

The possible reasons behind these malfunctions can be a flaw in the design, a manufacturing defect, incorrect assembly or installation, improper folding, overpowered inflators, venting problems or inaccurate software. Some of the injuries defective air bags can cause can include broken bones, head injury, traumatic brain injury and chemical burns.

Knowing your rights, when accidents occur due to a defective air bag inside your vehicle, is highly important; and who else, other than a truly knowledgeable lawyer, can explain to you the law and what it says regarding your legal rights? It the event of an accident, make sure you have an automobile defect lawyer on your side.

8 Responses to “Defective Air Bag: Cause of Injury rather than a Device for Safety”

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