Takata faulty airbag takes another life

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NHTSA, announced after investigating a recent crash in California, that the defective Takata air bag inflator has claimed another victim. The latest death involved a 50-year-old woman, according to NHTSA. She was driving just east of Los Angeles on Friday, September 30, when her car crashed and the airbag failed to deploy correctly.  Her 2001 Honda Civic had been recalled in 2008.  “Records show that the recall repair was never completed,” NHTSA reported.  In June, federal regulators listed the 2001 Honda Civic among several aging vehicles that drivers should stop driving immediately because the risk of malfunctioning airbags was so great. This death brings the number of deaths blamed on Takata airbags to 11.  Up to five people also may have been killed by the air bags in Malaysia, bringing the number of deaths globally to as many as 16.

Takata air bags can inflate with too much force, which causes a metal canister to rupture and spew shrapnel into the vehicle. Tokyo-based Takata, unlike other manufacturers, uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags in a crash.  But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to prolonged high heat and humidity and can burn faster than designed. That can blow apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion.

Nearly 70 million airbags in U.S. cars have been or will be recalled as part of a massive safety scandal enveloping Takata since 2014.  The airbags have been known to explode. Instead of softening the impact of a crash, they have sprayed metal shrapnel into the bodies of drivers and front seat passengers. Victims appear to have been shot or stabbed, according to police who responded to the accidents.  Cars in humid regions are especially susceptible to this defect.  The Takata defect has led to the largest auto recall of all time. It covers 1 out of every 7 cars on American roads today.  However, the problem is set to persist for several years.  Millions of people have been forced to keep driving cars that pose a deadly risk because there aren’t enough replacement airbags to make all the necessary repairs until 2019, according to NHTSA. And new cars are still being built with flawed Takata airbags, according to a report by the U.S. Senate.

The government urged people to go to www.safercar.gov and enter their vehicle identification number to see if their car or truck is being recalled.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a recalled Takata airbag, contact us at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation.  Call us at (904)399-1609 or toll free at (866)366-1609, feel free to email us directly at info@edwardsragatz.com.

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