12 Investigates: Henrico mom concerned about airbags

12 Investigates: Henrico mom concerned about airbags

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico woman called NBC12 concerned after her daughter was in a front-end crash and the airbags did not deploy. Wendy Farmer wanted the On Your Side Investigators to find out if something went wrong after she took the car in for an airbag recall.

From the pictures of the crash, it is hard to believe the airbags in Farmer's daughter's car did not deploy. The front end was smashed. Her daughter Brittany, who admits she was wrong for not wearing her seatbelt, hit her head on the windshield. The car was totaled.

"It's just a scary thing," Farmer said. "I've never had a phone call where my daughter calls me hysterically crying, screaming 'Mom I've been in a car accident.'"

This went down November 13 near Virginia Center Commons.

"She was in the left inside lane and seen a car come out of a parking lot and ran right in front of her," Farmer said. "She ran right into it and went into the driver's like front wheel area."

The frightened mom rushed to the scene.

"Her whole front end is destroyed," she said. "Her Jeep was totaled and not one airbag came out, and the other vehicle is totaled too but it doesn't look as damaged as her vehicle does, and three of his airbags came out."

Her mind started to race. Her thoughts went straight to the airbag recall that she thought she'd taken care of.

We asked Farmer what she assumed after she picked up her car for the recall.

When Farmer picked up her car for the recall, she said she assumed, "that it was complete and that it was fixed and that if we were in an accident that the airbags would deploy," she said.

Now she wonders if something went wrong and if other people could be in danger.

A spokesperson for Fiat Chrysler said, "Like air bags produced by all other manufacturers, FCA air bags are not intended to deploy in every frontal accident. FCA air bags are designed to not to deploy unless the vehicle experiences a severe frontal initial deceleration."

"You might run into a wall at a given speed, a solid wall, and your airbags would deploy, but if you have the same car and you run into another vehicle that's smaller and lighter than you, your airbags may not deploy because the solid wall makes you stop and makes you stop very quickly," David Zuby said. Zuby is chief research officer for the Institute for Highway Safety in Ruckersville. "When you hit a smaller, lighter vehicle, your car pushes it out of the way."

That is what appears to have happened in Brittany's wreck.

"If a person isn't injured in a crash, they probably didn't need the airbag," said added.

Also, whether or not the vehicle is deemed totaled by the insurance company has nothing to do with the severity of the crash. It is an economic decision, based on how much it will cost to fix the vehicle versus replace it.

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