Airbags Not Deploying Properly in Auto Accidents
They are referred to in news reports as “time bomb airbags,” and many years after a massive recall of the Takata airbag, automakers are concerned that tens of thousands of vehicle owners are ignoring recall notices. One car manufacturer believes there are more than 60,000 of its vehicles on the road today that are still equipped with the defective airbag. Now, automakers, state, and federal safety officials alike are all sounding the alarm hoping car owners will quit ignoring these critical recall notices.
Why the Urgent Need to Replace These Airbags?
If you’ve received a recall notice and have not followed through on bringing your vehicle in to be repaired, here is some information that may prompt you to do this sooner rather than later.
There are currently 19 automakers with vehicles equipped with the defective airbag; everything from Acura to Ford to Ferrari and even Subaru, which is one of the most popular automakers here in Colorado.
The flawed part of the airbag is its inflator, which is a metal cartridge filled with propellant wafers. Airbags work like this. If a vehicle is involved in an auto accident, sensors decide in a nanosecond whether to activate the airbag or not. If the airbag is inflated, it’s done so by having the propellant wafers explode, which releases gases that then inflate the airbag.
What is happening with the Takata product is that the airbag is not working properly in frontal crashes. In some cases, even in a minor crash in which the bag shouldn’t be activated, the airbag is deploying and the propellant wafers, which are made out of metal, become fragments of shrapnel. Once deployed, the metal pieces are tearing through the airbag; according to federal highway officials, some 23 people have been killed due to the shrapnel hitting vital organs and another 300 people have been injured.
This is an extremely dangerous situation, and the fact that tens of thousands of vehicle owners have ignored recall notices is astonishing. Please check and make sure you have not overlooked an airbag recall. If you aren’t sure whether your vehicle is part of this latest recall, or if you want to check on any recall of your make and model, you can go to Safecare.gov and use your vehicle identification number (VIN) to find a record of any recall on the vehicle you are driving.
Do-Not-Drive Warnings in Florida
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined state officials in Florida to announce an urgent plea for residents to make sure they are not driving a vehicle with a Takata airbag. According to officials, there are nearly 500,000 vehicles in South Florida that are under recall notices, but the owners have not responded.
Among the vehicles that are of concern are the 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks. Officials are so worried they have placed a “do not drive” warning on these models. What makes this situation even more dangerous is that warm, humid weather can impact airbag inflators. Though Colorado has much milder weather, that does not mean you can ignore a recall if you’ve received a notice. Officials say the only way to ensure safety is to replace all airbags in makes and models that have been identified as a potential hazard.
Overall, airbags are a great safety feature. In car accidents from 1987 to 2015, front passenger airbags saved nearly 50,000 lives. However, for some 37 million vehicle owners, their airbag is not guaranteed to deploy safely if the vehicle is involved in an accident. Make sure you are not among the millions needing to have your airbag replaced. If you are, you need to respond to that recall now.