Seat belts and airbags save thousands of lives every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that seat belts have saved more than a quarter of a million lives since 1975. In their first twenty-five years of widespread availability, frontal airbags prevented another 40,000 deaths.
But while these and other technologies make cars safer all the time, no safety device can guarantee 100 percent security and survivability in every situation. It’s also an unfortunate fact that seat belts and airbags can, in rare cases, cause injury or make an injury worse.
Airbag Problems Well-Known
An airbag works by igniting a small explosive charge that fills a safety cushion with gas in a tiny fraction of a second, reaching its full size at a speed close to 200 miles per hour. That’s lethal under the wrong circumstances, which is why cars have included airbag safety warnings for years: Don’t sit too close, don’t put loose objects on the mechanism, and don’t put small children nearby.
Defects in design and manufacturing can cause problems with airbags, too. That’s the reason behind the largest automotive recall in history, which has now affected 42 million vehicles worldwide.
Faulty airbags, which can explode without cause and with too much force, sending metal shards at the people they’re supposed to protect, are known to have killed eleven people in the United States and seriously injured close to 200.
Seat Belt Problems, Too
A seat belt can also cause several kinds of injury, either because of a defect or malfunction or because it was used improperly. Malfunctions typically involve a latch or tension device, but manufacturing defects have been documented: A 2016 recall was issued for nearly 3 million vehicles when it was discovered that the rear passenger belts had the potential to come loose in a crash.
Most seat belt injuries are minor, but not all of them. They can include simple cuts and bruises, as well as bruised ribs, broken bones, dislocated joints, and various internal injuries.
San Diego Car Accident Lawyer
When you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, an important part of the recovery is to make sure that all the medical expenses and rehabilitation costs are paid for by the people who caused the injuries.
That’s not always easy, which is why it’s vital that you work with an experienced car accident lawyer who understands every factor that can be involved in this type of crash, whether that’s something as obvious as a speeding drunk driver or as seemingly minor as a seat belt defect.