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Are Automakers Still Selling Vehicles with Potentially Deadly Airbags?

Faulty airbags still remain a serious safety problem in Wisconsin and across the country.

As recently as June 30, 2016, FOX 6 reported that federal regulators believe that as many as 300,000 Honda and Acura vehicles currently are on the road with extremely risky, defective airbags.

The problem primarily lies with airbags manufactured by Takata. National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials have found that these airbags pose a 50 percent risk of exploding in a crash.

What Are Concerns with Takata Airbags?

Airbags can be one of the most important safety features in your car. When they work correctly, airbags can protect you from serious injuries and save your life.

However, when airbags are defective, they not only fail to provide proper protection in a crash – they can actually be the cause of severe injuries.

Flaws that can make airbags unsafe include:

    • - Defective crash sensors, which cause the airbag to deploy at the wrong time or not at all
    • - Inflation deployment that is too forceful
    • - Poor testing that fails to account for the impact on people of a certain height.

 

The problem with Takata airbags involves the risk of explosions. According to numerous reports, the airbags’ inflators have a fundamental design defect which causes a propellant to burn off at a rate far faster than it should.

Steel containers within the airbag can explode as a result of this defect. When an explosion happens, sharp pieces can fly at occupants of the vehicle, causing cuts, burns, eye injuries, permanent disfigurement and even death.

A Closer Look at the Takata Airbag Recall

The NHTSA first called for a national Takata airbag recall in November 2014. Slowly, major automakers started to comply with the request and issued recalls for their specific vehicles.

Alarmingly, it took Takata a considerable amount of time before the company faced the severity of the problem. The company did not publicly admit the defect until May 2015. By that time, The New York Times reports, more than 34 million vehicles were impacted.

The New York Times reports, more than 34 million vehicles were impacted.

That is a stunning figure. It accounts for nearly 15 percent of all active vehicles in our country.

At least 10 deaths have been connected to defective Takata airbags, Reuters reports. The 10th victim was a Texas teenager who died when her Honda Civic was involved in a rear-end collision, according to Reuters. Upon impact, her car’s airbag exploded. A piece of sharp, flying debris sliced a major artery in her neck.

According to the Reuters report, the girl was not speeding at the time of the crash. The wreck actually caused only moderate damage to her vehicle. It is likely that things would have turned out differently if the airbag had worked in the correct way.

Many different automakers have been impacted by Takata airbag problems, including:

    • - Toyota
    • - Acura
    • - BMW
    • - Chrysler
    • - Ford
    • - General Motors
    • - Honda
    • - Mazda
    • - Mercedes
    • - Nissan
    • - Subaru
    • - Volkswagen.

 

To determine whether your specific make and model of car has been subject to an airbag recall, you can type your vehicle’s VIN number into the NHTSA’s Recall Look-up Tool.

How Has the Auto Industry Responded to Defective Takata Airbags?

Earlier this year, AutoNews.com reported on a Takata airbag report released by the U.S. Senate. The report criticized Takata for its response to the airbag problems. The report stated that Takata:

    • - Manipulated safety test results after the recalls began
    • - Operated with a serious disregard for consumer safety.

 

Federal regulators have also found serious problems with Takata’s actions and response to the recall. The NHTSA levied a record $200 million civil penalty against the company. Out of that amount, the company must pay $70 million. It will need to pay the additional $130 million if the company fails to take appropriate actions.

Some car manufacturers have attempted to take action to figure out the fundamental problems with the airbags, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Ten different automakers who have used Takata airbags formed an independent task force to test the defective airbags. The task force, called the Independent Testing Coalition, has helped to determine some of the fundamental flaws of the Takata airbag design.

Were You Injured By a Faulty Airbag?

If you or a family member has been seriously injured by a defective airbag, you need to take immediate legal action. At Gruber Law Offices, LLC, our Wisconsin car accident lawyers know how to hold companies accountable for their defective products. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today to set up a free review of your case.