There is no question that airbags save lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that airbags reduce fatalities, with frontal airbags lowering death rates by 29 percent and driver-side airbags reducing motor vehicle fatalities by 37 percent.
When airbags are defective – or used in an improper way – however, they can actually cause injuries and deaths. Over the past year, about 34 million vehicles have been recalled due to defective airbags manufactured by automotive parts maker Takata. Upon impact, the defective Takata airbags can send metal fragments flying through the inside of the vehicle. Drivers and passengers have suffered numerous injuries, including abrasions and eye injuries. A New York Times report cited at least two deaths associated with the affected Takata airbags.
Ways to Prevent Airbag Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a website where car owners can check their vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to determine if their car is covered by the Takata recall. All motorists should check their vehicle in the NHTSA database, as the recall has continued to expand to include more vehicles.
There are also several things to keep in mind to stay safe in a vehicle equipped with airbags. These safety tips apply to all airbags – even ones that are functioning properly and have not been recalled.
- Wear your seat belt when you drive or ride as a passenger
- Drivers should maintain a minimum of 10 inches between their body and the steering wheel
- Children younger than 12 should ride in the backseat – never in the front
- A deployed airbag must be replaced
- Never place a rear-facing car seat in a seat with a frontal airbag
- All car seats should be placed in a backseat
- Pregnant women should discuss airbag safety with their physicians
If you have been injured by an airbag, it’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Takata airbag recall is the largest ever, and it continues to develop as new information and statistics are released. Don’t hesitate to speak to an attorney about your injuries and your options.
James “Jim” Nugent: Your Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer
I’ve worked hard to build a reputation as one of Connecticut’s premier lawyers advocating for injury victims’ rights, getting results for my clients for over 30 years. If you have suffered a personal injury or catastrophic injury, call me today at (203) 795-1111 for a free consultation.