Car crashes happen every day. Some are serious, some are minor. No matter the severity, every crash leaves us, as drivers, a little shaken up, more acutely aware of the roadways afterwards, and in some cases, severely injured. But did you know that in many cases, those accident-related injuries are not directly caused by the crashes themselves? Many times these injuries are caused by the airbags designed to keep us safe.
During the first 10 months of 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that more than six million cars were recalled because of potential dangers related to defective airbags. This is a significant problem, since airbags have been known to fail in a variety of ways. They can: fail to deploy during and accident, deploy while motorists are safely driving behind the wheel, or even cover passengers with dangerous chemicals, gases, or metal shrapnel when they explode. All of these defective airbag cases can, and have, caused serious injury or death.
Through mid-October, car manufacturers have issued 29 separate airbag recalls, a record-setting number for our nation. One of these most recent recalls came in October when Toyota recalled more than 800,000 vehicles because of electrical problems that prevented the airbags from opening during a crash.
As science and technology improve, why are more and more defective airbag recalls happening?
- Airbag systems are more complex. Some manufactures put as many as 10 airbags in each car they assemble. This means that there are more electrical components, sensors, and mechanisms to fail during a crash. If performance isn’t calculated perfectly, people can die.
- A few airbag manufacturers supply products to multiple companies for numerous vehicle models. When one airbag company announces that their airbags have a problem, numerous auto manufacturers are affected. In these cases, there may be four or five car models per company that have to be pulled to correct the problem. In 2013, more than half of the 23 defective airbag recalls that have happened stemmed from only two airbag manufacturers.
This news is extremely important to you as a motorist, because, if you are ever involved in a high-speed car accident on a Chicago toll way or interstate, or even in a low-impact crash through one of Chicago’s residential neighborhoods, the airbags designed to keep you safe could be the very cause of your injuries.
So, as you drive around Cook County’s highways-and-byways, just remember that 2013 is not over yet. The airbags in your car could be next on the list.
If you have legal questions concerning your car accident and related injuries, please contact us today to schedule your free consultation. You can also request a free copy of the guidebook The 8 Steps to Follow After Your Illinois Car Accident.