Which? scores airbag test victoryWe highlight concerns over facial injuries

06 April 2007

The European crash-test organisation has agreed to change its scoring system after Which? found some airbags could cause facial injuries before they have fully inflated.

We hope the decision by Euro NCAP to penalise cars with airbags that do not deploy as safely as they should will make the manufacturers concerned improve their design.

The independent crash-test organisation, of which we’re a founder member, has decided to change its test rules following our investigation which found cases of airbag injury across the world.

Blind in one eye

Our article included the case of a woman who was left blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other– almost certainly as the result of a deploying airbag – which prompted another couple to tell us about their similar experience.

Such evidence helped us push for change to Euro NCAP’s ratings system. In the future cars will lose one point from their overall score if their airbags could injure the eyes or face of any occupant.

Losing a point could mean the difference between a four- and five-star rating, for example.

Airbags save lives

Motoring Editor Richard Headland says: ‘This move should prompt significant improvements in airbag design, but it’s important to stress that the risk of injury is slight. Airbags still save thousands of lives every year, so you’re almost always better off having one.’