NHTSA Warns Against Use of Steering Wheel Decals Amid Reports of Severe Injuries

Aftermarket steering wheel decals, emblems, jewels and other decorations are not securely affixed,, and often consist of sharp rhinestones. metal, or plastic that poses serious risks in a crash.

Federal safety officials are warning consumers to immediately stop using steering wheel decals and aftermarket decorations, because they could become dangerous projectiles when an airbag is deployed during an auto accident, causing serious injury or death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a press release on May 14, after becoming aware of an incident involving a driver whose airbag deployed and sent two pieces of a metal steering wheel decal with rhinestones into the drivers face and neck.

A similar steering wheel decals warning was issued by NHTSA in November 2023, after the agency became aware of a similar incident where a driver was permanently blinded in one eye after an aftermarket steering wheel emblem ejected rhinestones onto the driver’s face in a crash.

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Aftermarket steering wheel decals are typically crafted from metal or plastic and often feature rhinestones or other glittery decorations. These decals have an adhesive backing designed to cover the vehicle’s logo in the center of the steering wheel.

During an accident, the force of a deploying airbag can transform these decals into dangerous projectiles, potentially causing severe injury or even death.

Many online retailers distribute the decals and emblems, including Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy.

Unlike the securely attached emblems on your vehicle’s steering wheel, aftermarket decals can easily become dislodged when the airbag deploys. Modifying or altering your airbag or its cover can also lead to malfunction, the NHTSA warns.

The agency is once again advising consumers to refrain from buying steering wheel decals for any vehicle make or model. Additionally, consumers are encouraged to remove any such decals they have already placed on their steering wheels.

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