Over the past several months, a number of bulletins and stories have been circulating throughout the law enforcement and emergency services community about side impact airbag deployments resulting from the use of a slim jim (a metal device which can be slipped in between the window and molding of many car windows to unlock the door). These bulletins incorrectly claim that an law enforcement officer or firefighter, using a slim jim, was injured or killed while attempting to open a locked driver's door of a vehicle equipped with side impact air bags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has researched these claims and has discussed this issue with manufacturers of vehicles equipped with side impact air bags. NHTSA has been unable to verify that any incidents of the types described have occurred. Additionally, NHTSA contacted the manufacturers of vehicles equipped with side impact air bags, who categorically state that it is impossible to deploy the side impact air bags by using a slim jim from the outside of their vehicles.

For further information and to report incidents related to this subject, contact the NHTSA Special Crash Investigation: 24 hour voice mail # (202-493-0400)

24 hour facsimile # (202-366-5374)
Internet E-mail address: