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The 2012 Hyundai Elantra (Hyundai).
DETROIT -- Federal safety regulators are investigating a complaint that a car owner's ear was cut in half when a side air bag inflated in a Hyundai Elantra.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday on its website that it's investigating to see if the problem will recur in about 123,000 Elantras from the 2012 model year.

In a complaint filed with the agency, the Elantra owner said the driver's side curtain air bag inflated in a crash on April 7, and a metal bracket came with it, slicing the owner's ear. The owner gave the agency photos showing a metal component sticking out from the car above the driver's seat.

"It appears that the metal component caused a laceration to the driver's ear/face," the NHTSA documents said.

The agency said it will evaluate the compact cars to see if there's a safety problem. No recall has been ordered.

Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson said in an e-mail that the incident appears to be isolated. "Hyundai has no other reports of injury from side curtain air bag deployment in 2012 Elantras," he wrote.

The company is cooperating with NHTSA in the probe, but neither the company nor the government has had a chance to look at the owner's car, Johnson wrote.

Hyundai has sold more than 129,000 Elantras in the U.S. since August of last year, typically the month when model year changes take place. Some of those vehicles likely were from the 2011 model year.



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  • 80 Comments
      gardensbyd
      • 3 Years Ago
      Airbag injuries are NOT uncommon. I was in a crash hitting a guard rail at 50 mph. My front airbag smashed my "shatter-proof" eyeglasses into my eyes. I was totally blind with a double-chamber eye bleed for 2 weeks. An expert told me it was "nothing short of a miracle" that I regained most of my vision. Skin peeled off my face in what the police called "airbag rash"! Obviously they have seen it often enough to name it. BUT, no other injuries, which was also a miracle! DO NOT SIT CLOSE to your steering wheel...go as far back as feasible. And, manufacturers, please take a little of the punch out of the front bags. They are made to stop a 200 lb. person not wearing a seat belt. Don't injury the rest of us who obey the rule!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is the guy still alive? enough said.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Better to lose 1/2 an ear than 1/2 your head by the door or the other car.
      Welcome Mieka
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know airbags save lives, but what about people like me who are short. Because of my height, I have to sit closer to the steering wheel. I live in absolute fear of the airbag going off. I think they should all have a swittch to turn them off for people like me who are in more danger from the airbag thatn the accident itself. Others of a more average height who feel safer with the airbags, more power to you. There should be a switch and it should be everyone's choice based on their personal risks.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Welcome Mieka
        because of smaller people like you the deploiment of the air bags have been slowed down, trust me you still have a better chance of surviving with it than without it no questions asked
        Bob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Welcome Mieka
        many cars now have adjustable components,,,other than having short arms,,, you should not have to sit close to the steering wheel... cars have adjustable pedals, ,,, you might want to think about a car that has that. And you are not in more danger from the air bag than the accident... they have slowd down the speed of air bags,,, injuries now are rare,,, not zero, but, rare. But Ihad a roll over , and the bags never went off. Ihate paying for side airbags,,, front, Im ok iwth, all the others, foget it... think of the cost it adds to cars.
        MrMajestyk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Welcome Mieka
        I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that cars have sensors that can tell how far the drivers seat is from the steering wheel and deploys the airbag accordingly..
        miller2900
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Welcome Mieka
        ......Mieka, you need to be very selective the next time you purchase a car. I just finished helping a friend's mother shop for a new car. One of the first priorities was to get a vehicle that "fit" her mom. That included looking at vehicles with adjustible foot pedels, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, etc. The mom was a very tiny woman that almost hung from the steering wheel while driving until I showed her how to correctly make adjustments with a power driver's seat option, adjustible steering wheel, pedals, etc. Some cars are better at it than others. Turns out a Volvo fit the mom's needs. Allowing a driver access to a switch to turn off the airbag would be counter productive as they do save lives if respected. Unfortunately not all car owners/drives know how to assess an individual car's safety options to protect them.
      rmweld
      • 3 Years Ago
      Adults should make their own choice--------I get tired of people making the right decisions for me. This all started with Ralph Nader around 1963 against the chevy corvair ------noy a gadget kind of car, but unlike the Volt, people did buy them and BTW---this is the same Ralph Nader who has run for president time and time again. Thank you Ralph for looking out for the American peoples best interest.
      paulw3tzi
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh, sure. Get rid of the airbags and have your head go through the windscreen. So he got half an ear cut off. So what? That's a whole lot better than dead. Some people would complain if they were to be hung with a brand new rope.
      sams865
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cant thr DUMBASS just be thankful hes ALIVE
        Bonbon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sams865
        Let's see...half an ear...an entire life...half an ear...an entire life. A no-brainer for me!
      Lil_kev
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just finished attacking Toyota, now Hyundai. Still, american cars are at the bottom of my list.
      LL
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ubokia Is Similar To Craigslist...After hearing about Ubokia I just had to rush over to the site ( http://bit.ly/TryUbokia ) and see what all of the buzz was about. I was amicably surprised with the ease of use of the site once I signed up for an account and was able to gain access into their site. The sign up process was very easy and took only about 1 minute. The web site is very straight forward to navigate also. You can find offers of all sorts of products and services with a simple entry of a word or product in the search box. Results came quickly and was surprised to find many really cool items listed cheap! You can also place a want ad. This was very easy to do also. I wanted to find a new cell phone that was compatible with my carrier and got many responses the very first day. I now have a new cell phone and only paid $10 for it and it works perfectly. It was a pleasure to set a want ad and simply forget about it. Sellers contacted me! I know you will like using Ubokia ( http://bit.ly/TryUbokia ) as much as I do. Give it a try and find out for yourself how easy it is. BTW It's fun too. I smiled the whole time!
      claymorh1
      • 3 Years Ago
      I once bought a Datsun pickup...and that experience led me to swear to NEVER Buy another Rice-burner, regardless of origin. As the recent debacle with Toyota proved, fly-by-wire may work for jet fighters, but with 50=million of one brand of cars on the road, not so hot for automobiles. Give me my manual controls, with knobs and handles, and push-pull wires to the controls!
        Paul
        • 3 Years Ago
        @claymorh1
        The new cars are "progressing" to electric steering and fly by wire elec actuated brakes in addition to fly by wire throttles.All these "innovations" will make it easy for "big brother" to CONTROL YOUR CAR as far as speed restrictions by wired roads communicating with your car.The hardware is in place and only needs software set up and roads equipped.Insurance companys are pushing to impliment this plan as fast as possible.Me,I havent bought a new car since 1985.
        divywuzhernameo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @claymorh1
        Give me my manual controls, with knobs and handles, and push-pull wires to the controls! Don't forget to keep an extra pair of pliers or grips on hand incase your airbag knocks a knob off lol
      Brian Workman
      • 3 Years Ago
      Give him a quarter mill $ and call it a day! I was once driving my car through an intersection, and the ignition key broke off in my kneecap, when I was hit broadside, by a red light runner, driving a Chrysler New Yorker. It took me over two years, to recover and walk with out a cane. i Won $10K in the law suit and a third of it went to my lawyer and a third went to my health insurance, and I was taxes 25% by the Gov. for income tax. Today I would have Won a million in the settlement. No I didn't sue the car maufacturer. At least the seat belts worked. No air bags. 1957 Chevy.
      arenadood
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not many people realize this, if for whatever stupid reason anyone wanted to do this, all airbags can be de activated by almost any mechanic, Stupid thing to do, yes, but it can be done.
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