Japanese manufacturer of automotive parts, has recalled airbags used in approximately 34 million vehicles.


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Takata Corp., a Japanese manufacturer of automotive parts, has recalled airbags used in approximately 34 million vehicles, that is nearly 1 in 7 vehicles on the road in the U.S. today.

The issue with these airbags is that they have on occasion violently exploded, causing rather than preventing injury. Most instances have occurred following car accidents, even minor ones. However, in one case it is alleged that the airbag exploded while the vehicle was stopped at a red light. Takata has explained that airbag explosion could be caused when the propellant in the inflators, the explosive material that generates the gases to inflate the airbags, degrade over time when exposed to high humidity and changes in temperature, thereby making it prone to overaggressive combustion.

When the airbags explode metal shrapnel can be sent flying towards the passengers in the vehicle. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries are linked to this flaw with the airbags. In two instances the victims had pieces of metal lodged in their eyes permanently damaging their eyesight. In another case the victim's carotid artery was severed by metal shrapnel when the airbag exploded. That victim has suffered more than one stroke and currently suffers from a traumatic brain injury. Other injuries have included a fractured right nasal bone, and lacerations and wounds on the victims' face and neck.

According to Takata, the vehicles most likely equipped with these defective airbags were manufactured between 2002-2008 by Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created a database to help motor vehicle owners determine whether their car is affected by this recall or not. The database is still being updated so if you do not see your vehicle listed on the website now you may want to revisit the site in the next couple of weeks. You can access this database at http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html. If your vehicle has been recalled you should receive a letter from the manufacturer providing notice of the recall, and once you receive this notice you should call your dealer to make an appointment to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible. We understand that the manufacture of replacement airbags is not keeping pace with demand.

If you have questions or concerns about your rights following an automobile accident, call the Accidents & Personal Injury team at Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP. We will be with you every step of the way.