Cheri Money blames debilitating neck and back injuries on the air bag in her 1997 Chevy. According to the police report the airbag in her cavalier shot out without warning.
Money says the impact damaged multiple vertebrae which required surgery and rehab.
We obtained a data base from Safety Research and Strategies, a group that researches and investigates automotive issues. The recalls we found affect more than 11 million vehicles over a multitude of defects that can cause "inadvertent airbag deployment."
The recall came too late for John Erle. Erle crashed his 2004 Dodge Viper after he says the airbag shot out while he was driving. He suffered a broken neck and now six years later Erle lives in daily pain.
Five years after the crash Chrysler issued a recall on Erle’s Viper. It points to a component in the air bag control module that may fail causing the front airbags to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated.
Bad censors, malfunctioning modules and wiring defects make up some of the issues for all these recalls on cars whose model years date back to 1992.
Age can often be a factor. We ran Money’s VIN number through Carfax and found no recalls that would explain what happened to her car. General Motors actually came out to read the computer but when we called the auto giant they said the test failed to determine the cause.
Here’s how to protect yourself:
- Check your VIN numbers for recalls
- Never ignore an air bag light
- If you are driving a car over 10 years old ask your mechanic to check the airbag censor
Check your VIN on the SaferCar.gov website.