What you should know about Takata airbags

For several years now, major automakers around the globe have been recalling thousands of their units because of defective frontal airbags that may explode during deployment. According to reports, over a hundred injuries and seven fatalities have been linked to the defective airbags. Takata, a Japanese auto parts maker, have been ordered this month to pay up to $200 million as a civil penalty, and was banned to use the propellant it used in the defective airbags unless proven safe.

According to the website of the lawyers at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, defective airbags, such as those produced by Takata, can cause injuries and wreak havoc to drivers and front passengers. Instead of inflating, Takata’s defective airbags explode, spraying drivers and passengers with shards of plastics and metals that can be injurious, sometimes even fatal.

But how does the airbag become injurious? Takata was the first airbag maker to use ammonium nitrate as the primary propellant. Ammonium nitrate wafers, instead of inflating the bags, tend to explode, creating shrapnel from shards of the inflator’s metal wall. These jagged little pieces of debris may then cause the airbag’s lining to rupture, spraying front occupants with metal and plastic bits at a speed so high that it could be injurious, or fatal.

In November last year, a New York Times report said the company was well-aware of the airbag’s possible defect way back 2004, but chose to hide the risks. Because many vehicles have been affected by the defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the Takata airbag recall would go nationwide. To date, it is estimated that about 34 million cars have been installed with defective airbags in the U.S. alone, while another 7 million cars are affected outside the country. According to the website of Spiros Champaign Law Firm, the manufacturers currently affected by the recall include Ford, Honda, Chrysler, BMW, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Pontiac, Subaru, and Toyota.