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Defective Airbags Causing More Injuries

Defective Airbags Causing More Injuries

Federal regulators continue to pull more vehicles off the roads, citing airbag problems. Each time, the airbags are linked to the Japan-based Takata Corporation.

Since 2008, 14 different automakers have recalled 24 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbag inflators. Some of these inflators have been known to explode, shooting metal shards at vehicle occupants. In some cases, they have been linked to serious injuries and death.

Although millions of cars have been recalled, experts believe many more vehicles haven’t been recalled but they could be equipped with the same dangerous airbags.

A defective product lawyer at The Barnes Firm says determining if your vehicle is equipped with a Takata airbag can be challenging for some.

“Many automakers aren’t saying what models have these dangerous airbags – and there could be thousands of these cars driving on the roads of the United States,” defective product attorney John Sheehan said. “Every consumer deserves to know whether their airbag could shoot metal shards at them but many companies aren’t telling.”

Some U.S. Senators have asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a “blanket recall” that would bring back all the vehicles equipped with Takata airbags. These senators also want to force Takata to publish all the makes and models it supplied airbags to since 2000.

Takata has stated that it could manufacture up to 18 million replacement parts each year but many of these parts need to go to other countries where another 30 million vehicles have been recalled.

In the U.S., it could take over four years to replace the airbags currently under recall. Currently, only 5 million airbags have been replaced.

“Every year, more people can get seriously injured because their car hasn’t received replacement parts,” Sheehan said. “It’s important to take your vehicle in for repairs as soon as possible whenever there’s a recall but with this one, it’s even more important because of how dangerous these defective inflators can be.”

Takata makes its airbag inflators using a chemical called ammonium nitrate. Very few airbag manufacturers use this chemical, which inflates the bags in a crash. In a testing environment, the chemical has sometimes exploded with too much force causing it to blast apart pieces of metal that are meant to contain the explosion.

Scientists say high temperatures and high humidity can cause ammonium nitrate to act in this manner.

Takata has agreed to stop making inflators with ammonium nitrate by 2018. At the same time, Reuters reports the massive recalls are causing some Takata executives to consider trimming is global airbag operations and restructure.

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