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By now, most motorists are now aware of the Takata airbag recall. Nearly 30 million cars in North America alone have been recalled due to factory-installed airbags that inflate explosively and cause shrapnel from internal components to hit drivers in the face. The defective airbags have been decisively linked with at least ten deaths and dozens of additional injuries in related auto accidents. Recently, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) announced that airbag manufacturer will be responsible for supporting the recall of between 35 million and 40 million additional vehicles over the next three years. The NHTSA is requiring cooperation from Takata as part of an amended consent order between the Japanese supplier and the agency. While the recall is an effort to increase safety, it also highlights the risk for serious injury or death to millions of American drivers.
Defective Airbag Inflators
The root of the current issue is the airbag inflator, which utilizes a chemical propellant to quickly inflate the airbag in the event of a crash. Over time, exposure to temperature and humidity changes can cause the propellant to degrade, leading to unpredictable, explosive deployment of the airbag. The explosions are strong enough to break pieces of the airbag housing loose, sending metal fragments flying into the face of innocent drivers.
While the airbags are a major problem in the United States, vehicles subject to the recall remain on roads all over the world. This demonstrates the gravity of the problem, especially for parents of new drivers. Naturally they would be hesitant to have their loved ones use a recalled vehicle, but if they are unaware that their car has been recalled, the danger still exists. Drivers and parents should keep up to date with developments in the recall, as Takata is under pressure from state and federal officials to release a comprehensive list of affected vehicles rather than slowly releasing information to the public.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family
Because the official recall was instituted on a federal level, current registered owners of recalled makes and models are supposed to have been notified by mail in writing. However, following the recent death of a young woman, her family claimed no recall notices were ever received. That being the case, a proactive way to check is by going the NHTSA website, and entering your Vehicle Identification Number—also known as a “VIN”—to access the latest recall information.
Work With a Qualified Lawyer
Retaining a compassionate attorney is crucial to asserting and defending your rights. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, especially if your injuries were the result of a defective airbag, contact an experienced Hinsdale personal injury attorney. Call 630-920-8855 for a free consultation at Martoccio & Martoccio today.