NHTSA asks AGAIN to stop putting stick-on badges on your steering wheels

Customizing cars is a lot of fun. Adding that little bit of personal flair can make something feel like your own. But some modifications can not only hamper the functionality of a car, but more critically, the safety. And the most dangerous are those that can interfere with your car’s safety

equipment. One that NHTSA is highlighting for the second time is the stick-on badges you can get to decorate your steering wheel.

You can find them just about anywhere on the internet, often sporting plastic rhinest ones or just different colors

than the usual chrome steering wheel badge. Innocent as they may seem, the problem is, as NHTSA points out, they can be dislodged, broken and flung off the steering wheel when the airbag deploys. It has received a report of a person in a crash where two pieces of a badge got lodged in the person’s neck and face after the airbag went off.

This isn’t the only one, either. Back in November, NHTSA issued a similar warning after getting a report of someone’s aftermarket badge broke off. That person lost sight in one eye.

Besides the projectile potential of these add-ons, NHTSA also notes that placing anything over where your airbags are could inhibit their operation. Automakers carefully engineer their panels and airbag equipment to open up in specific ways, and attaching things that could prevent that could be a risk, too.

The good news is that this is an easy thing to address. Ideally, just don’t get one of these decal badges in the first place. But if you have bought and installed one, well, just remove it. Grab on and yank it off, or even grab a screwdriver to pry it off if it’s really stuck on. In any case, from the sound of it, it’s probably not going to be all that well attached anyway. Do note we’re specifically talking about centrally located badges on the steering wheel where the airbag is enclosed, other bright interior bling isn’t being called out.