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Shadow on Wall

Automobiles – Airbags - - are we safe?

Jan 16th 2024

I have owned many cars over the last 70 plus years. I remember a total of almost 50 but I am sure I have missed a few that were less than memorable. From the lowly Austin A40 to Lincoln and Cadilac limos, Chrysler 300, two Chrysler LeBaron woody convertibles. I have had two 15 passenger buses and a couple of half ton trucks; I also drove a 5-ton chevy truck for a few months. A very fast and collectable Camaro that I never even got to drive but it did generate a late-night phone call threatening my life. That is another story.

My focus in this piece is my almost new 2014 Buick Enclave that has been garaged and gently driven. I am not a high tech. guy. The flipper for the TV intimidates me and running the DVD is always someone else’s job, NOT mine!  My Buick has everything one might imagine plus many options I have yet to discover. If I have lived as a driver for 75 years and not needed these do-dads, why was I foolish enough to spend thousands to have them. I do think that some of the early option such as directional signals and a heater and AM-FM radio were good ideas. As a salesman all my life, I tend to be a good customer. So, as my Buick has a recall and except for the 1st. notice advising me that I would be contacted ASAP when the part was available, I waited. It is now almost 7 months and except for a few long distant outings my Buick with all the options sits idly waiting in the garage.  We now drive our two passenger Smart car most of the time. It is a great car but it has its limitations.

 If you think that I am over reacting, the recall is very explicit and states, Quote,

“Safety Risk description”

 “An inflator rupture may cause metal fragments to pass through the airbag and into the vehicle interior, which could result in injury or death to the vehicle occupants’”.

In July of 1963, I survived a horrendous car accident where my 1963 Plymouth was pitted against two Trucks in a 60 mile per hour head-on crash. The Tanker trailer was empty but not the Gravel truck, it was loaded. Without the need of an explanation, I lost!  - I was not at fault but government bureaucracy stood in the way of me suing and this left me without a car and penniless. I was hospitalized for more than 10 weeks and removing chards of glass and sand from my body for months, It is not surprising that I am somewhat anxious when driving in my beautiful custom Coffin, and still, NO RECALL.

So far GM have been less than co-operative. I am told that at the outset of this fiasco, GM took the vehicles effected off the road until it became so massive a problem with faulty airbags in many makes and models that it is now OK to drive these infected death traps, and still no parts are available from the Airbag producers. GM will give a rental car to some that complain hard enough but that does not solve the problem. Too many are driving thinking they are going to be saved by an Airbag that has the possibility of killing the driver and passengers in these ill-fated vehicles.

For the public to be aware of GM products affected, they are 2014-2017 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. Saab and other car manufacturers could be affected but it is up to the public to check your car make and model for your own safety. A class action suit was mounted and rejected by the courts.

My GM dealer is very sympathetic to my problem and they are taking what little action they can to help me find peace in solving my driving anxieties. Let’s see what comes from this very serious situation. At this point I would be willing to give up my beautiful Buick for a suitable rental until the parts are available to get me back into my own car.


Paul D. Scott                 

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