The Takata airbag recall, which started around 7 years back, has affected over 34 million cars in the United States. The defected airbags have caused a total of 100 injuries (in the US) and 10 reported deaths worldwide (9 of which occurred in the US). The US federal government has imposed a penalty of up to $200 million on the Japanese airbag manufacturer, Takata Corp for selling unsafe airbags to almost 14 major automakers that sell automobiles in the US. More costs incurred due to this safety defect include provision costs of more than $400 million for automakers like Volkswagen dealing with recalls. Manufacturers have no choice but to bear these costs in order to make sure their customers are as safe as possible because airbags are part of a vehicle’s basic safety system.
The defective airbags that have killed or injured people have been reported to explode abruptly and fire off metal shrapnel towards the interior of the car. The possible root cause of this fatal risk has been linked to the ammonium nitrate propellant (in the airbag inflators) that causes the inflators to explode upon impact. Moreover, ammonium nitrate is known to break down over time or when it is exposed to moisture; thus causing it to combust forcefully and rupturing the metal casing around it. Therefore, high humidity areas pose a greater risk to cars fitted with Takata airbags although Takata has not officially accepted this as the cause of the defect, they announced in 2015 that they would no longer be using ammonium nitrate in their airbag inflators.
With the recent addition of Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz to the list of automakers using Takata airbags in their cars, it is highly likely that most of the vehicles on the roads in Texas are fitted with Takata airbags. To check if your car is due for a recall enter your car’s VIN number here. Furthermore, the NHTSA has dedicated a website to the Takata recalls which contains updates, recall lists and information regarding the ongoing investigations about the Takata recalls.
Automakers are required by the law to manufacture and sell safe vehicles and to fix any manufacturing defects immediately at no cost to the owner of the car. However, it is highly possible after the Takata airbag tragedy that you own or have rented a car that has unsafe airbags. As a responsible vehicle driver, it is your duty to make sure you are driving a completely safe vehicle. Safety defects in your vehicle can make you suffer life-changing damages such as physical, mental and emotional impairment, medical expenses and loss of property and/or earning ability. If you think you or a loved one has suffered such losses due to a faulty airbag, you can contact a defective airbag attorney at Rad Law Firm in Dallas.