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The Latest Innovations in Auto Safety: Shrapnel and Harpoons, The Pop Tort.com


Since when did cars become war zones?

Of course they used to be. Back in the 1950s and 1960s when, during car crashes, ‘Drivers were impaled on rigid steering wheel columns.… Unpadded dashboards and the sharp edges and ashtrays gouged out eyes’ and cars ‘crumpled like a Japanese lantern’ in rollover accidents.  But all that changed when eventually, the auto industry decided that safety ‘sold’ and cars became safer.

But if we’ve learned one thing over the last few years, it’s that with every new safety innovation comes a new opportunity to cut corners.

First to today’s lead story in the New York Times, a tabloid-sounding article called ‘It Looked Like a Stabbing, but Takata Air Bag Was the Killer.’

Hien Tran lay dying in intensive care this month after a car accident, as detectives searched for clues about the apparent stab wounds in her neck.…

When Ms. Tran crashed her car, the air bag, instead of protecting her, appeared to have exploded and sent shrapnel flying into her neck, the Orange County sheriff’s office said. On Monday, in an unusual warning, federal safety regulators urged the owners of more than five million vehicles to ‘act immediately’ to get the air bags fixed.…

But the urgent request was bound to create confusion among owners. Honda said it did not have enough parts to fix the cars immediately. Toyota said it would in some cases disable the air bags, leaving a note not to ride in the front passenger seat.

They’re kidding, right? . . .