Takata is recalling more than 10 million front airbags that have been utilized by 14 different automakers. The recall was made after it was discovered the airbags were exploding with accelerated force and hurling shrapnel in the process. Faulty Takata inflators have been linked to at least 25 deaths worldwide to date.
Takata has a history with recalls affecting millions of drivers. In 2015, Takata agreed to recall airbag inflators in roughly 41.6 million vehicles. The recall was based on the inflators exploding when exposed to high heat and humidity conditions. The faulty airbags have been connected to serious injuries and deaths. The Japanese company filed for bankruptcy following one of the largest auto recalls in U.S. history.
The Dangers of Defective Products
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags saved over 50,457 lives between 1987 and 2017. When functioning properly, airbags are designed to limit serious injuries and deaths associated with auto accidents; they should never be the cause of a serious injury or death due to malfunction. If an injury or death occurs as a result of a defective car, truck, SUV, or motorcycle, or due to one of their component parts, the injured party may have an auto products liability claim. Auto products liability law is in place to protect drivers and passengers while keeping automakers and manufacturers accountable for safe products. Recalls such like Takata’s, affecting between 65 to 70 million airbags, reveal the dangers associated with flawed manufacturing and neglecting to resolve product issues.
Takata’s inadequate airbags have caused serious injuries as well as deaths. Injuries associated with airbag malfunction are not to be taken lightly. As seen in cases associated with the Takata recall, injuries sustained by drivers included severe lacerations, eye injuries, torn arteries, skull fractures, and bleeding on the brain, among others. These preventable injuries have the potential to be life altering, and in some instances, life ending.
10 Million Replacement Airbags at Risk
Once again, Takata must recall its airbags due to explosion issues. Ten million replacement airbags that were installed to remedy the previously recalled inflators are now also under fire for safety issues involving explosions and the release of metal particles. The airbags have been found to project shrapnel when exploding at high rates on deployment. The 10 million inflators are installed in vehicles manufactured by 14 different automakers.
Automakers Audi, BMW, Honda, General Motors, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Ferrari, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen have been affected by the Takata recall. Automakers will determine through vehicle testing which models are at risk, issuing individual recalls.
Additional Takata Recalls
In late 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a separate recall involving 2.7 million defective Takata airbags based on an independent issue. Previous Takata recalls did not include take into account whether inflators contained the chemical agent ammonium nitrate, which is used to decrease the possibility of explosion and release of shrapnel. The chemical has been found to cause more harm than good.
Under long-term exposure to high heat and humidity, the chemical agent can rupture due to propellant degradation. In addition, the chemical agent can break down over time, lessening its effectiveness, resulting in an increased risk of an explosion years later.
Auto Defect and Recall Attorneys
There’s enough to worry about behind the wheel; a driver should not have to fear their own vehicle malfunctioning and causing harm. Cases involving injuries sustained as the result of auto defects and recalls should be taken seriously and handled by experience products liability lawyers. If you or a loved one was injured or killed by a defective airbag, you may have the option to file a claim against a car manufacturer, airbag manufacturer, or even join a class action lawsuit. The experienced airbag defect lawyers of Dax F. Garza, P.C. can investigate your case and determine the best course of action, so contact us today.