We take airbags for granted in our modern cars. Most cars even have side airbags now. But things were not always this “safe”. In 1973, the Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car with a passenger air bag intended for sale to the public. General Motors later offered an option to the general public of driver side airbags in full-sized Oldsmobiles and Buicks in 1975 and 1976 respectively. Cadillacs were available with driver and passenger airbags options during those same years. But those early airbags system had design issues resulting in fatalities caused solely by the airbags, and most manufacturers shelved them until airbags were offered once again as an option on the 1984 Ford Tempo automobile. By 1988, Chrysler became the first company to offer air bag restraint systems as standard equipment. In 1994, TRW began production of the first gas-inflated airbag. They are now mandatory in all cars since 1998.
Since then, airbag design has obviously changed, with most cars now equipped with driver, passenger, and side impact airbags. But just like in the 1970s, airbags still cause personal injuries today. These personal injuries can occur when the airbag inflates when it shouldn’t have, and when it doesn’t inflate when it should have.
On Christmas Day, a young driver from the United Kingdom was pulling into a parking bay and his airbags deployed. There was no collision, but both front airbags on his Peugeot 206 suddenly deployed, startling the occupants and leaving the passenger with a deep laceration on his face. Even as late as two weeks ago, authors of a new review are warning cardiologists and other health professionals of “hidden injuries” that can arise from automobile airbags. Even though airbags save lives and reduce injuries, they can also cause cardiac and pulmonary injuries and death, especially if the driver or passenger is not wearing a seatbelt and — of special note — people who present following low-speed crashes.
If you or a loved one were injured from a faulty airbag, you should seek the counsel of the best personal injury attorney you can get.