In the event of a car accident, your airbag is often the only thing standing between you and a serious injury. This makes the latest in a series of airbag recalls manufactured by the Takata Corporation especially troubling for drivers.
The latest Takata recall is for 3.9 million airbag inflators. The particular model being recalled is the PSDI-5 driver side airbag inflator, which can rupture when the airbag deploys, sending shards of metal through the airbag. Not only do the shards themselves pose an injury risk to drivers, they also cut through the airbag, deflating it at the time it is most needed.
These inflators were used in a variety of vehicles, as Takata sells its airbag equipment to multiple car makers. Among the car companies that have been affected by this particular Takata recall are Honda, Saab, Toyota, Volkswagen, and BMW. Models from as far back as 2003 could be affected.
While Takata has not reported any injuries in the U.S., yet, the inflators have caused more than 100 serious injuries worldwide, and 10 deaths have been attributed to the defective inflators.
Unlike other airbag manufacturers, Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a miniature explosion to inflate their bags. However, over time, humidity can make the chemical degrade, making it explode with too much force, ripping apart the metal piece that is supposed to contain the explosion.
As a result of its poor design, Takata's airbag inflators have been steadily recalled in a piecemeal fashion, while the company insists they are safe. At first, recalls only targeted portions of the country, such as the exceptionally-humid climates of Florida and the Gulf Coast. However, when injuries resulting from these inflators started appearing elsewhere in the country, the recalls expanded.
Recently, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to stop the piecemeal approach and issue a blanket recall, which would be less confusing for consumers. The NHTSA, however, says that it does not have enough data to justify a blanket recall. Instead, they are relying on a 2018 deadline for Takata to fix their airbag inflators or stop making them.
Drivers have a tendency to rely on the safety mechanisms in their car as they should be able to. They don't want to have to worry about their airbag not deploying in the event of an accident and they definitely don't want to have to worry about their possibility of injuries increasing due to shards of metal being sent through the airbag when it does deploy. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else's negligence, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.