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CHUCK'S CORNER

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IS YOUR AIRBAG JUST HOT AIR?
By Chuck Wells

Investigators of a fatal crash in California discovered empty packs of cigarettes and other garbage in place of the airbag in a salvaged Ford Escort. The salvaged car was purchased by the unsuspecting consumer who died in the crash when the airbag didnít work. The guy who repaired the salvaged car did the work as a second job on the side. He said that he was ďproudĒ of his work and that he didnít know that repacking an airbag (with garbage) was illegal
in California.

An insurance company in California said that over 350 claims involving cars which had been in collisions where found to have fake bags.

How would you get one of these bad bags? Airbags which get wet are no good. If you buy a car that was salvaged after a flood (95,000 cars were damaged by flooding in Houston, Texas alone), the airbag may not work.

At least 7,500 airbags were stolen out of cars in 2001. Thieves sell these bags to repair shops who then charge insurance companies full price to replace the bags. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a replacement airbag must match up with the make, model, year, and sometimes the month the car was made in order to be safe.

How can you make sure your airbag is working? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when you first start your car, the airbag indicator should come on and blink for a few seconds and then go out. If the light fails to come on or stays on, your airbag may be bogus. You may also want to have the car checked by a dealer to make sure.

ALLAH WINS THE LOTTERY

El Shabazz Allah was opening his little kiosk in the Atlantic Center mall in Brooklyn, NY when a guy came up behind him stealing $2,000 and stabbing Allah in the back. Allah didnít think this was fair and someone should pay so he sued the mall and its security company. The mall and security people said they had no complaints of crimes in the area and besides, they had no duty to protect Allah. Allah was awarded $4 million by the courts.

RUNNING STOP SIGNS ISNíT THE PROBLEM

A study of crashes at stop signs revealed an interesting fact. Most of the crashes were caused not by someone running the stop sign, but by people who stopped and then pulled in front of other cars.

Fewer accidents happen at intersections with 4-way stops than just 2-way stops.

Young men and people over age 65 are found more often to be at-fault in
these accidents.

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