When consumers in California purchase new or new-to-them vehicles after carefully evaluating the safety features offered, they should be able to trust that those features will in fact keep them and their loved ones safe. Unfortunately, one of the most common features on cars today that is designed solely to prevent or minimize injuries to people during accidents may actually harm them. In some cases, people have even been killed by them. These features are airbags.
As explained by Consumer Reports, earlier this year one brand of airbag was recalled after it was discovered that the bags may explode upon deployment. Specifically, defective airbags had the potential to shoot out metal shards into a vehicle cabin. So far, close to 40 people have been killed by these airbags and another 300 have been hurt.
The airbags in question were installed into 19 different brands of vehicles and multiple models for each manufacturer over a period of 13 years. The manufacturer of the airbags is said to have filed for bankruptcy.
In addition to faulty products, Car and Driver magazine indicates that even airbags that operate properly may also pose hazards to some people. Petite drivers who must sit close to steering wheels than larger drivers are just one group notoriously at risk of injury if an airbag deploys. Women who are pregnant must also be cautious, especially as their pregnancies progress and their stomachs continue to extend forward. Some options to disable airbags are said to be available but it is unclear how many consumers have actually done this.