Air bags are supposed to help protect us in the event of a car accident, not harm us. Unfortunately, some air bags have exploded randomly, sending shrapnel flying into vehicle occupants. Innocent victims have been seriously injured and even killed as a result of defective air bag inflators.
The defective air bag inflators, made by Takata—a major parts supplier—are thought to be in many different cars from model year 2002 through 2008. Recently, Chrysler added over 200,000 vehicles to the growing air bag recall. To date, the air bag recall affects 7.8 million vehicles and involves over a dozen following automakers, including:
- General Motors
While it is not definite that air bags in these cars will deploy explosively, hundreds of injuries and four fatalities have been linked to the defective Takata air bags. Unfortunately, motorists in high humidity and high temperature conditions, such as Florida, are at greater risk of experiencing an air bag rupture that could cause metal shards from the air bags to explosively spray out in the passenger cabin.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people who travel to high humidity areas but do not live in these areas year-round are not at the same level of risk as people who own vehicles in high humidity conditions for many years.
While the Department of Transportation estimates that 37,000 lives have been saved between 1987 and 2012 as a result of frontal air bags, owners of vehicles listed above shouldn’t assume their airbags are safe. It is important that owners of affected vehicles with Takata air bags contact their specific auto manufacturer to have their vehicles inspected and repaired. In the meantime, it is recommended that drivers sit as far back from the steering wheel as possible, limit their driving, and don’t carry passengers in the front seat until the affected parts are replaced.