Camry air bags

I was the proud owner of a 2015 Camry Hybrid for a total of 23 hours. I had the misfortune to have a dog run in front of the car and I hit it. Damage to the vehicle from the dog was loose grill and scratched bumper skin. Cost to repair body damage was about $1200.00. However all 10 air bags deployed killing engine and leaving us sitting in the middle of a state highway. Car could not be moved, could not see out of the car (all windows were covered with air bags), and could not get the doors open. Thank god two bystanders saw it happen, directed traffic around us and opened door from outside. Still could not get out of car until one of them punctured the air bag on my side and cut it out with a knife. After getting my wife out of the other side we were able to push the car to the side of the road.

Car was towed to the dealer where they could not start it either.

The air bag replacement cost was over $20,000 and the car was totaled by the insurance company.
Damage to the car was minor. Only visible damage was bent front license plate. Toyota who sent air bag engineers out to examine the vehicle, claim this is normal damage for a small front end only impact and offered no help or warrantee assistance.

Has anyone else has this kind of experience. Any comments would be appreciated.

I’ve never heard of that kind of thing happening before, not to that extent anyway. But with newer cars sporting huge numbers of air bags these days, well, a driver might be a little safer in the event of a crash, but it appears there are some downsides as well. Sorry you had this experience, must be very frustrating. And sorry to hear about the dog that was injured or killed.

If this happened to me I’d be contacting my Senators and House Representative and Consumer’s Reports and the Consumer Products Safety Agency so they’ll be informed of the potential consequences, both dollars and the driver’s safety if they can’t exit the vehicle, of the seemingly mindless increase in airbag numbers per vehicle we’re seeing.

Factory warranties do not cover accidents. Take your settlement and buy a different brand if your not pleased with Toyota.

So, in a front end hit situation it’s acceptable that the “safety” equipment blocks all vision, causes the driver to lose control of the car, to stop the car no matter where it might be, and to require external help to extract the occupants? I don’t think so. I can’t believe that’s the intent of the rules. @GeorgeSanJose is absolutely right - raise hell. Call your local TV station if Toyota stonewalls you.

I may be completely wrong here. But I think we do not have all of the facts. The bags are supposed to deflate after being deployed. The side bags would not keep the doors from opening. Also the driver and passenger air bags might not deploy in all situations due to sensors. I am sure they have a problem but this sounds like a item for a Toyota specific web site.

Can you post a picture of the car?

I agree with Volvo, the airbag system is not supposed to remain inflated and entrap the occupants. As a matter of fact the bags are controlled to allow the inflation gas in a controlled manner to absorb energy.

It sounds to me like there was a system malfunction. And I suspect it’s going to be beyond an internet forum to find out why.

One thing I would suggest the OP do is to document everything carefully, take photos, and file a formal report with NHTSA. If there’s a problem, NHTSA might want to do a follow up.

Have contacted NHTSA and they have requested more photos. The only air bags that deflated were the two ones in from. The other bags were still partially inflated the next day. It is a very dangerous situation since without help we could not have gotten out. The doors opened but because of the inflated airbags you could not reach the door handles to open them. They had to be opened by the people who stopped to help.

Good man/woman. You did the right thing. Let us know how you make out with the NHTSA after you forward them the additional photos. Sounds like they’ve taken an interest.

It would be interesting to see how the money changes hands as a result of this deal. The insurance company will pay the claim to the owner, then the car will become the property of the insurance company. A car with brand new actuators, sensors, dashboard instruments, fender with new paint finish, all new everything, all around, including the tires. It seems like this car might prove to be a gold-mine for the insurance company, since once disassembled the parts will likely sell for considerably more than the claim they had to pay.

Must be Takata bags…

OMG, great point JT. That may be one of the reasons the NHTSA seems interested.

Toyota who has refused to acknowledge any airbag problems wanted to purchase the car from the insurance company.

Now, that’s good news. They may really want to know what happened, and they need the car to figure that out. It would be responsible of them to also make certain you got a replacement car.

Before this is all over, did anyone try to contact the dog’s human owner? Their liability is pretty clear. If they are insured (homeowner’s policy) there’s a real claim.

My Google search revealed many complaints of Camry air bags not deploying in accidents, but not one for unneeded deployment. It must be very rare. I believe the curtain bags stay inflated to protect in roll-over accidents.

The deployment is one thing, the part about staying inflated is even more confusing. Does the airbag need constant power to stay inflated. I thought it is one explosive air gush and then it collapses on itself.

According to a Toyota based web site I saw the side curtains or side bags are supposed to stay inflated a little longer than the driver and passenger bags. But they are still supposed to deflate. Also if I read it right the front sensors and the side impact sensors are separate systems meaning just because of front impact does not mean the side bags will be activated. We can only hope to hear the final verdict on this.

Dogs owner had homeowners. They will end up paying for everything. Toyota wanted to buy the car from the insurance company, they offered no compensation or help. Ended up ordering a Ford Fusion.

Glad to hear you/your insurance won’t be financially responsible. Am I unnecessarily reading sinister undertones into Toyota’s attempt to buy the car (i.e., they’re trying to pull a coverup) or do manufacturers normally do that kind of thing for legit reasons?

“Also if I read it right the front sensors and the side impact sensors are separate systems meaning just because of front impact does not mean the side bags will be activated.”


A frontal impact will not result in the deployment of side airbags if the SR systems are operating as they were designed to operate. Similarly, a side impact will not cause the front airbags to deploy if the systems are operating properly.

And, merely impacting the body of a dog would not necessarily result in even the deployment of the front airbags.

Assuming that we are not being pranked (God knows I hope that we are not being pranked!), then this vehicle’s SR systems did not operate properly/correctly.