Should I be concerned about defective airbags?

You just received a recall notice in the mail today about a potential defect in your car’s airbags. You’ve never received a recall notice before, so you decided to do some research on your own about the issue. You’ve already heard stories about how deployment can cause head and neck injuries, but the information you found online about airbag defects is truly horrifying.

Aren’t airbags supposed to protect you from harm? What you’ve read so far is that they’re actually killing people. Although you’re definitely going to honor the recall and get your car into the dealer as soon as possible, should you be concerned that a safety device such as an airbag could cause you more harm than good?

Concern Increases Over Defective Airbag Risks

Airbag safety has recently become a growing concern in the United States as 16-million cars have been recalled by the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at the behest of the United States Congress. This recall is a direct result of defective airbags manufactured by the Takata Corporation, which have killed at least four people and injured countless others. Congressional scrutiny adds to the pressure on Takata and automakers such as Nissan, General Motors, and Toyota as recalls increase for air bags that can inflate with excessive force.

Airbags are specifically designed to reduce car accident fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, front airbags reduce car accident fatalities and head injuries by 26 percent, while side-impact airbags can reduce injuries up to 37 percent. However, when an airbag is defective, the life-saving apparatus can quickly turn into a life-ending mishap. The circumstances surrounding the Takata recall has drastically raised concerns about airbag safety, especially when it comes defects such as high-force inflation and the potential for the inflators to explode on impact. Driver safety concerns include:

  • Excessive force may lead to critical neck injuries. Airbags generally deploy at speeds as high as 200 miles per hour, but a defective inflator could cause forces to be even greater, inflate at the wrong time, or be deployed in the wrong position.
  • Inflator explosions. Airbags work as a result of impact sensors sending a signal to the bag’s inflator. The inflator releases an electrical charge to spark a chemical reaction, resulting in the inflation of the airbag with nitrogen gas. When the inflator is damaged, this spark can ignite the nitrogen gas, causing an explosion. This explosion can cause serious force injuries, as well as cause pieces of metal shrapnel to be propelled toward the driver.
  • Defective tethering. In order for airbags to stay secure, they are tethered within the steering column. However, if these tethers aren’t strong enough, or a defective explosion causes them to break, the airbag not only becomes uselessly loose, but the force of the nitrogen inflation will have nothing to stop it from hitting you square in the face.

Recall Hesitation Could Be Fatal—Don’t take the Risk

As with any type of recall, it is imperative that you act as soon as you get a notification about an airbag recall for your vehicle. Make an appointment as soon as possible to get the problem fixed, or you could be tempting fate. Remember, several people have been killed by airbag defects, don’t add to that list. Be safe and follow recall instructions.

Have you or a loved one already been injured as a result of a defective airbag? Call us today for a free consultation and review of your case. You may be able to join ongoing lawsuits, or begin a new one for damage, treatment, and emotional compensation. Contact us today to see how our experience and extensive knowledge can help you and your family get the justice you deserve.