Air bags have saved thousands of lives in accidents that otherwise might have been catastrophic. But when air bags do not work as intended, they can sometimes cause injury or death rather than preventing it.
Japanese company Takata has recalled another 3.3 million air bags because of defective inflators. This increases the already historic recall – and the huge backlog of repairs. It’s a race against time before more people are killed.
Another 3.3 million air bags recalled for defective inflators
The latest Takata recall involves certain models from 2009, 2010 and 2013 from virtually every brand of vehicles: Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar-Land Rover, Tesla and Daimler. Owners will be notified later in January if their particular model is part of the recall.
The defect is in the inflator, which uses a controlled ammonium nitrate explosion to rapidly inflate the air bag in a crash. But in high heat or high humidity, Takata inflators can detonate without warning in non-crash situations, causing serious injury from hot shrapnel as the canister explodes, or from the violent force of the air bag inflating. To date, at least 20 people have been killed and more than 180 have been injured.
The ticking time bomb of unrepaired air bags
Only a small percentage of air bag inflators have exploded, but it could happen to anyone at anytime. Thus Takata is working with automakers and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to replace 46 million inflators in 34 million vehicles. Through September 2017, only 18 million defective bags have been fixed. The NHTSA has prioritized older cars and cars in states with high temps and high humidity.
The goal is to replace all the suspect air bags over the next three years — hopefully before anyone else is maimed or killed. If you have not been notified but think your car may be subject to the recall, you can look up your make and model on the NHTSA’s Takata Recall page.
The Ginsbergs & O’Connor law firm has successfully litigated many product liability cases, including a number of injury and fatality cases involving vehicle defects.