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Cell Phones Become Projectiles When Airbags Deploy

10:44 AM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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DALLAS -- Texting and driving can be deadly, but many drivers don't think about how cellphones can injure them during a crash.

"You could be poking eyes out and cracking skulls, all kinds of things if that is happening," says Dallas Police Department Senior Cpl. Kevin Navarro.

The department's traffic division said it sees a lot of minor accidents with major injuries to drivers.

"The cellphone is usually right in front of the airbag," Sgt. Paul Hinton says.

Hinton and his team set up a dummy demonstration to illustrate the impact when an airbag going 100 mph hits a cellphone.

"We've got a dummy because we couldn't find anyone willing to sit in front of this for us and we've got a cellphone in about the area where a person would use it to text," he said. "What we're going to do is remotely deploy this airbag to where that cellphone is, suspended very lightly so it should go wherever the energy from the air bag sends it," he said.

Hinton deployed three airbags.

Each time, the cellphone hit the dummy in the neck or square in the face.

"It looks like it may have hit him in the face," he said. "If that was a person, no doubt they would be on the way to the emergency room with some pretty bad injuries."

According to Texas Department of Transportation crash statistics, there were 308 crashes in Dallas County in 2011 in which cellphone use was a contributing factor.

One of the crashes was deadly.

Dallas police train their officers about the dangers of texting and driving.

Navarro said drivers who are texting are more focused on their cellphones than the roadway.