Have you heard of the Takata airbag recall? If not, here are some facts you need to know. It’s the largest automotive recall in history affecting a wide array of automakers from Acura to Tesla, and the results of this defect could be deadly. Since 2009, the number of deaths has slowly risen, and that’s only the deaths we know about. Even more people may have fallen victim to the Takata airbag defect and many more could still suffer.
Why is the Takata Airbag Defect Continuing to Harm Consumers?
Takata inflators were constructed to use ammonium nitrate (the same chemical used in the Oklahoma City Bombing) to create a small explosion that inflated an airbag. But the chemical proved unstable when exposed to hot and humid environments. This causes the inflator to burst the metal canister that contains the propellant, which can spray drivers and passengers with deadly shrapnel.
It’s this discovery that caused an immediate push to recall most of the airbags produced by Takata, though smaller recalls of the brand’s airbag products have been going on for nearly 15 years. This surge has caused 42 million vehicles in the U.S. to be recalled for an estimated 69 million defective devices— worldwide, that number is estimated to be 100 million. So far, only 43 percent of the estimated defective inflators have been replaced, and some that are in used vehicles have still gone unaccounted for.
On July 10, 2016 an unidentified driver in Baton Rouge, Louisiana became the 20th victim of this product defect. Honda, the automaker most affected by the recall, confirmed that a faulty Takata airbag caused the injuries that led to the driver’s death. However, it was only recently that government officials and Honda inspectors were notified of this death. They inspected the vehicle on December 19th and released their findings the next day. Could this mean that other roadway deaths were caused by Takata airbags and we just don’t know it yet?
The Takata Corporation filed for bankruptcy due to this massive recall, and though there are still court proceedings going on that will determine the company’s liabilities to victims, automakers are also being held responsible for injuries and deaths. That means it is important that potential victims and their families contact a product liability attorney. There are still defective Takata airbag inflators out there, so be safe and check your car’s VIN number to make sure you aren’t affected.