Ditch Rhinestones on Steering Wheels for Safety, Fed Warns
Though personalizing your car can be fun, government officials put out a consumer alert against a specific customization that could lead to severe injuries in the event of a collision. They’re warning about steering wheel decals. More specifically, a little rhinestone-studded ring that can be placed over the manufacturer’s logo on your steering wheel.
On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a statement advising car owners not to attach hard stick-on decorations to the center of their vehicle’s steering wheel. The agency urged immediate removal of any existing decorations, emphasizing that these decals could transform into dangerous projectiles in a crash, posing a risk of serious or even fatal injury.
The NHTSA recounted an incident where a driver suffered a significant injury, losing sight in one eye, as a result of a crash that dislodged a rhinestone-adorned aftermarket emblem from the steering wheel, striking the driver’s face.
The agency described the potentially hazardous items as “metal or plastic plates, typically adorned with rhinestones or other shiny decorations, featuring an adhesive back that covers the vehicle’s logo in the center of the steering wheel.”
While the NHTSA did not specify particular products or manufacturers, it emphasized the general danger associated with such steering wheel decorations. Most modern passenger vehicles are equipped with driver-side airbags that deploy from the middle of the steering wheel during a significant impact. The forceful inflation of the airbag towards the driver’s head and face is designed to cushion the impact of a crash. Factory-added decorations are engineered to stay in place when the airbag deploys, but aftermarket embellishments pose a risk.
Recently, Nissan recalled certain vehicles due to concerns about the logos on their wheels coming loose. According to Kelley Blue Book, over 400,000 vehicles are subject to a recall due to the potential detachment of their steering-wheel-mounted emblems, posing a risk of becoming projectiles in the event of an accident.
For further details, refer to the complete consumer alert released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration here.