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Retrieving record but the column appears to be a string, not array

tjyoung asked
Last Modified: 2016-08-02
I'm in laravel, working on retrieving a record of a vehicle. Within the record is a column 'vehicle_options' which saves the options of a vehicles like this:
["Driver Side Air Bag","Passenger Air Bag","Side Impact Airbag"] etc. etc.

As part of a form the record is being pulled into, there are a series of checkboxes that need to be checked or not checked depending if the option exists.

Was trying below but I'm thinking the $vehicle->vehicle_options is returning as a string so my code below fails. Any idea where I'm going wrong?

if (in_array("Driver Side Air Bag", $vehicle->vehicle_options)) {
echo "found";
} else {
echo "not found";

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When I var_dump the variable I get:
string(659) "["Driver Side Air Bag","Passenger Air Bag","Side Impact Airbag","Child-Safety Locks","ABS Brakes","Traction Control","Stability Control","Fog lights","Alarm","Anti-Theft","Power-Assist Disc Brakes","Power Steering","Power Windows","Power Locks","Power Mirrors","Tilt Steering","Telescoping Steering Wheel","Cruise Control","Keyless Entry","Heated Mirrors","Intermittent Wipers","Rear Defrost","Auxiliary 12v Outlet","Steering Wheel Controls","Split Folding Rear Seats","Air Conditioning","Heated Front Seats","Bucket Seats","Privacy Glass","Climate Control","Cloth Interior","AM\/FM Stereo","CD Player","MP3","Auxiliary Audio Jack","Bluetooth","Alloy Wheels"]" 

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