Your airbags might not deploy during a crash, even if the vehicle isn’t actually defective.
Recent reports suggested that 303 deaths have been linked to failed General Motors air bags, putting an even larger spotlight on the American automaker following its massive recall on faulty ignition switches. But an analysis made by Automotive News shows that the lack of deployment in a crash doesn’t necessarily indicate a defect.
SEE ALSO: 303 Deaths Linked to Failed GM Airbags
According to federal data, approximately 3,400 people die each year in frontal crashes where air bags didn’t deploy. A closer examination shows that 120 deaths involved the Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions recently covered by the ignition recall, where there were no air bag deployments in a frontal crash. Of those accidents, 41 died in rollovers and six crashes involved a fire, both of which could be a fatal accident without triggering the air bags.
As for the study that linked 303 deaths to failed GM air bags, those included side-impact crashes in addition to frontal crashes. As a result, Automotive News‘ analysis identified significantly fewer deaths than the study conducted by the Center for Auto Safety. General Motors itself has identified 12 deaths in frontal crashes with no air bag deployment related to the recalled vehicles.
The analysis also discovered that many of the deaths in crashes without air bag deployment involved pedestrians, cyclists or occupants of another vehicle.
[Source: Automotive News]