The Airbag In Your Car May Not Be Safe

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We rely upon advanced safety features like crumple zones, seat belts, and air bags to protect us in the event of a car crash. But what if one of those safety features was itself a serious danger? It turns out that some driver and passenger airbags used by twelve different U.S. automakers are just that. These airbags, made by Japanese parts manufacture Takata, have been linked to at least eight deaths and dozens of injuries so far.
Even when it is working properly, the deployment of an airbag is not a gentle process. During a crash, a series of chemicals beneath the dash or steering wheel of your car are electronically ignited causing a rapid release of gases that inflate the airbag in time to soften your impact. In vehicles with the affected Takata airbag systems, however, heat, moisture, or other types of damage sometimes causes those explosive chemicals to react more violently than intended. In the worst cases, metal fragments from the airbag assembly were shot towards drivers or passengers much like a bullet out of a gun. In one early airbag related death, trained investigators even initially thought they were looking at a gun related murder and not a manufacturing defect.
Takata first knew of the potential flaws in their airbags as far back as 2004 and did not report any problems or begin recalls until late in 2008. Even then, the company tried to keep car safety officials in the dark by claiming multiple times that various problems in their manufacturing processes had been identified and fixed. But serious problems apparently lingered on since Takata just announced a deal with U.S. regulators that saw the company agree to a $70 million fine. It also agreed to phase out airbag units using the ammonium nitrate propellants it has long declared were safe.
The list of cars affected by these dangerous airbags stretches as far back as the year 2000 to as recently as 2014 and spans twelve U.S. auto manufacturers. Many automakers have announced various recalls—a list can be found on National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s website.
If you think you or a loved one has been injured by one of these defective airbags, the team at Martin Walker Law can help. We have years of experience bringing automotive and product liability cases to trial for our clients in East Texas.  Get a free case evaluation by calling us at 903-526-1600, by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com, or by using our Contact page.