The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Drive for Profit Turns Airbags into Weapons

Oct 27, 2014

Hien Tran died on October 2, four days after she had been in a car crash. Emergency medical workers noted that she suffered stab wounds to her neck not consistent with car crash injuries. Homicide police were stumped until a week after her death when her family received a recall notice from Honda to replace her 2001 Accord’s airbag!

The recall which lawmakers say could include 30 million vehicles, now involves 11 automakers world-wide and affects vehicles built from 2000 to 2008. The problem is that Takata, one of the few makers of airbags for the automakers, failed to properly seal the airbag inflators. This causes the bag to explode instead of to inflate and leads to people getting struck by shards of metal in the neck and chest. This has caused at least four deaths and more than 140 injuries to date. This is not new. Honda has been recalling cars for this issue and other air bag issues since 2008.

There have been other issues with airbags failing to deploy or deploying for no reason or deploying in low impact accidents. A 2007 study found that drivers taller than 6 foot 3 inches and drivers shorter than 4 foot and 11 inches are at greater risk for serious injury. Even when they aren’t assassinating you with shrapnel, airbags are still only designed for the average size of a man and can still seriously injure or kill you.

Takata, like every corporation, is in business to make profit. They take all kinds of short cuts and use cheap materials in the process. It makes no difference what is produced in capitalist society: so long as it is produced for profit, the result almost always gets misdirected. In this case, turning airbags into weapons.