Airbags are often the inflatable barrier between life and death in a crash. However, with the recent recalls regarding millions of Takata airbags, it has made many question the overall safety of airbags in their own vehicles.
For nearly five years, several models from 19 different automakers have been placed on recall because they contained the Takata airbags, which were known to release shrapnel when deployed. The shrapnel came from a metal cartridge containing propellant wafers in the airbag’s inflator that if met with blunt force and hot temperatures, could explode and release the shrapnel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said these defects occurred because the airbags had an ammonium nitrate-based propellant which didn’t have a chemical drying agent. As a result, 15 people died, and more than 250 others were severely injured due to the airbag’s design defect.
Why California drivers are still at high risk
California is known for its warm, humid coast and desert interior, which puts numerous vehicles across the state at risk of causing injuries due to the Takata airbag’s heat sensitivity. And while the last reported death from the airbag was in Arizona, that does not mean there aren’t vehicles with the Takata airbag still on the road.
For vehicles that still have defective airbags
It may not put the driver in any immediate danger, but they should check the safety of their airbag:
- Find the vehicle on the NHTSA’s recall list using its vehicle identification number.
- Check to see if the vehicle contains a Takata airbag.
- Take the car into the dealership as soon as possible.
- Sign up for NHTSA safety alerts regarding future recalls involving your vehicle.
More recalls coming
While numerous vehicle manufacturers have stopped using the Takata airbag, the NHTSA still expects more recalls through December 2019. Anyone who has experienced the effects of a faulty airbag understands that exposure to its defects can be harmful or even deadly. Luckily, an attorney that specializes in California Lemon law can help victims examine the circumstances and potentially help them secure the necessary repairs, refunds or a replacement vehicle.