Here’s a disturbing report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as reported by WSMV-TV in Nashville. According to the television station, an internal memo at NHTSA estimates that air bags failed in 576 fatal auto collisions in the six-year period ending in 2006. In 360 of those wrecks NHTSA believes proper deployment of the air bag might have saved the life of a crash victim.
The television station obtained the report, titled ”Fatalities in Frontal Crashes without Air Bag Deployment,” under the Freedom of Information Act. The report included only fatality collisions, so the actual number of failures to deploy is probably much higher. NHTSA did not find any one factor that caused air bags not to deploy, but said there were a variety of reasons involved.