The main purpose of Airbags installed in automotives is to protect drivers as well as accompanying passengers during an accident. Despite their safety benefits, a considerable number of airbag-associated injuries are reported in the literature. Airbags are designed to open in head-on collisions when vehicle deceleration exceeds a specified threshold. Defective airbags deployment with metal projectiles launching and hitting passenger’s head or neck have been reported.
Deaths from defective airbags are rarely reported in the Middle East. This article presents a case in the Kingdom of Bahrain of a driver whose car was in a head-on collision with another car resulting in in severe head trauma and death at the scene. Death scene investigation revealed that a fire has originated from the airbag compartment with a cylindrical metallic object found missing a part of it. Autopsy of the deceased showed an injury to the right side of the head similar to a firearm inlet. Examination of the head revealed a cylindrical metal object that did not resemble firearm projectiles. The object appeared to have come from the interior of the car upon impact. Laboratory analysis confirmed that the two metallic objects recovered from the deceased’s body were actually the broken pieces of airbag compartment. each other.
Although airbags have greatly reduced morbidity and mortality in road traffic accidents, defective airbags highlight the need to increase awareness of their hazards and the importance of their regular inspection and replacement if found defective.
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