Report Shows Failure of Air Bags in Crashes

A report obtained by a Nashville television station estimates air bags failed in 576 crashes within a six-year period.

WSMV-TV learned about the internal report of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration while investigating crashes among people in Middle Tennessee who said their air bags failed to deploy.

The report, which the station obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, estimates the crashes occurred between 2001 and 2006. In 360 of those cases, NHTSA said the crash victims might have survived had the air bags deployed.

A NHTSA spokesman said in a statement that air bags work in the vast majority of crashes.

Legal experts say one problem in determining air bags’ malfunction is that there’s no common denominator in all the crashes.

Said Lebanon attorney Alan Poindexter: “I’m seeing things all over the spectrum. I’m seeing everything from sensors to wiring.”