The late 1980s and early 1990s brought widespread adoption of an important safety advance to the vehicles we drive each day: the airbag. Initially, vehicles were only equipped with airbags on the driver and passenger side, but now many vehicles feature multiple airbags on the front and sides of the interior of the vehicle in an effort to improve the safety of passengers in the event of a crash. As a whole, these efforts have been successful and have made the vehicles we drive today much safer than those driven by previous generations. Unfortunately, there are exceptions, and certain airbags have been recalled due to the significant hazards they pose to those they are designed to protect.
One notable exception was initially discovered in 2015 when the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that Takata had agreed to recall a significant number of frontal driver and passenger-side airbag inflators. Initially the recall involved a limited number of vehicles from manufacturers such as BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota. The scope of the recall has expanded significantly over the past six years and continues to do so. As recently as February 19, 2021, vehicles have been added to the list of those recalled due to these extremely dangerous airbags. The scope of the recall is massive: over 63 million airbags have been recalled, encompassing over 42 million individual vehicles from essentially every major motor vehicle manufacturer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called this the “largest and most complex safety recall in United States history.”
What are the dangers?
The most significant danger posed by these defective airbags is improper inflation caused by the type of propellant used in the airbags. This can lead to a rupture of the airbag, sending metal shrapnel into the cabin of the vehicle. Drivers in hot, humid locations such as Georgia and Florida face an increased risk of these incidents. To date, the NHTSA has received reports of over 400 injuries and 26 deaths as a result of defective Takata airbags, many of which have occurred in seemingly minor accidents.
What should I do?
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an end in sight to the Takata airbag recall, and drivers should take several important steps to protect themselves and their loved ones. The first step is to check to see if your vehicle is involved in the recall. If it is, you should immediately take steps to get your vehicle to a dealership to get your defective airbag replaced. The NHTSA has even identified certain vehicles as being so dangerous that they should not be driven until the airbag can be replaced because of the significant risk of an airbag rupture. Finally, if you or a loved one have been involved in an accident and may have been injured due to a defective airbag, you should contact Rafi Law Firm to discuss your legal options.
The lawyers at Rafi Law Firm have helped people by achieving significant financial results for clients involved in accidents where they sustained serious injuries due to a defective airbag. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident and may have been injured due to a defective airbag, call us at 404-800-1156 for a free consultation.