Car companies: stop defending, start improving

By Diana Trasatti
November 8, 2007


Wear your seatbelt and make sure you buy a car with airbags and you should be pretty safe during car accidents, right? Wrong.

Teenagers, mothers, elderly and adult drivers have all lost their lives in recent car crashes due to failure in airbags.

The Kansas City Star has recently uncovered the disturbing large number of deaths that have been caused by airbags that have failed to deploy upon impact. Between 2001 and 2006 about 1,900 people have died because of the flawed airbags.

It is disturbing to think that such an important safety feature can fail in the single moment when it is needed most. Consumers purchase cars with airbags purposely to help ensure that they will be safe during a car accident.

It is understandable that safety features can not prevent all deaths or injuries during all car accidents. Sometimes a wreck is so bad that a fatality is unavoidable. However, airbags should at least deploy during an impact.

Vehicles are one of the biggest and most costly investments one can make. If it is said that the airbag will be released when it is needed, then drivers should be able to rest easy that they will at least be somewhat guarded.

The even more disturbing fact is the way that car companies are handling this issue. Since Oct. 19, 1999, the car provider GM knew from tests that something was wrong with their airbags. A recall was not ordered until 2002.

Think of how many lives could have been saved in that three-year-period.

The frustrating aspect of this issue is not only the failure of the vehicle but the manner in which the car companies are responding.

They are not voicing their acknowledgment of the airbag problem but rather waiting until the last possible moment to recall the vehicles after the death rates have risen.

These companies are continually defending themselves and trying to take the attention away from their failures by blaming other issues, such as lack of seatbelts on the deaths.

These companies are simply money hungry and are putting all their efforts into making an extra buck.

The mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, sisters and brothers that have died in these crashes are nothing more than a statistic to these companies that are interfering with their profit.

GM and other car companies should step up and publically admit that there was a problem with their airbags and that they are conducting research to further the safety of drivers.

Diana Trasatti

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