Airbags Linked to Serious Pennsylvania Car Accident Eye Injuries

 In Headline Accidents

Airbags are supposed to save lives, and they do this really well. Since the 1970’s, airbags have reduced overall car accident injuries and fatalities by one-third. However, about five percent of airbag deployments result in an eye injury. This means airbags cause over 30,000 eye injuries each year.

Types of Airbag Eye Injuries

  • Chemical Burns: Airbags deploy when a car crash signals a sensor and causes a chemical reaction. The toxic chemical sodium azide is heated to produce sodium metal and nitrogen gas. The nitrogen gas fills the airbag causing it to deploy leaving the highly reactive sodium metal. The sodium metal is potentially explosive, so it is mixed with another chemical potassium nitrate to produce more nitrogen and silicate glass.

These reactions occur in a matter of seconds, but sometimes small amounts of these chemicals accidentally vent through the airbag. This can cause burns to the eye. More serious burns may occur if the airbag is defective and large amounts of chemicals are released.

  • Particles in the eye: Airbags are tightly and very precisely folded into recesses in the interior of vehicles. Because they air bag must be able to deploy in all circumstances, the surface of the airbag is coated with a fine powder to prevent the airbag from sticking. As the airbag deploys, tis powder explodes out of the airbag compartment at a high speed. The corn starch, talc or chalk used to make the powder may get in a driver or a passenger’s eyes causing corneal abrasion, lens displacement, retinal detachment or other injuries.
  • High speed impact to the eye: Air bags deploy at about 200 miles per hour. An airbag that hits the eye at this speed can cause serious injury, including bruises, soft tissue trauma, ruptured eyeballs and fractured eye sockets.

Protect Your Eyes from Airbag Injuries

Air bags are designed to protect the average American man who is 5’9” and 180 pounds. Therefore, smaller-sized adults and children are most susceptible to airbag eye injuries. Drivers can reduce the risk of eye injury by adjusting their seat to the highest comfortable position and sitting as far from the steering wheel as possible. Passengers should move their seat back to increase distance from the airbag. And, children should never ride in the front seat of a car with airbags.

Help for Pennsylvania Eye Injury Victims

Airbag eye injuries can be very serious. If you suffered an eye injury in a Pennsylvania car crash, you may be able to claim damages from the at fault driver and from the manufacturer of your vehicle. Call Ostroff Injury Law at 484-351-0350 to learn more. There is no charge for the consultation.


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