About five months ago, Corey Burdick got into a fender bender in his Honda Civic. The windshield to his car was still intact, but Burdick suffered serious injuries when a piece of metal in the air bag flew into his eye.
The device designed to save his life instead changed it forever.
"It was just a fender bender, and the air bag went off," Burdick said Tuesday. "The doctors told me I had a piece of metal in my eye and I was going to lose my eye. Obviously, I lost my eye."
It's a dangerous problem possibly waiting to happen in about 12 million vehicles.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, was at an Orlando-area warehouse Tuesday as mechanics demonstrated what happens when an air bag is deployed.
In a split second, the air bag is deployed. Tears can be seen along the sides of the bag as a toxic fume leaks into the air. Fortunately, no shrapnel went flying in Tuesday's demonstration. But the possibility is there because about 12 million vehicles are being recalled for an air bag defect.
Burdick, Nelson and others are now calling for change.
"The defect is causing this metal to shred," Nelson said, pointing out how heavy the metal is.
Automakers are in the process of repairing and replacing recalled air bags. But Nelson said automobile manufacturers like Honda and Toyota need to do more. He has written letters to the companies demanding they do more to alert customers and replace the faulty air bags.
In some cases, the air bag system is being turned off, and that doesn't solve the problem.
"They need to provide a loaner or rental car," Nelson said. "It's their responsibility to get them to the customers so they can get out of that rolling death trap."
If the manufacturers don't do that, Nelson said he wants to start fining them each day. Those finds could be in the millions.
Burdick filed his own lawsuit seeking damages. A class action lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of 18 plaintiffs against Takata Corp. and other air bag manufacturers. The complaint claims car companies had knowledge of the dangerous defects years ago but didn't issue a recall.