It's currently estimated that one in seven vehicles in the United States may be equipped with a faulty airbag. This statistic may be extremely shocking to those of our Los Angeles readers who have not been following the news regarding the recent recalls involving vehicles with Takata airbags. But for those who have been following the story, this statistic only further illustrates the need to hold auto manufacturers liable for their negligence.
For those who do not know, a number of investigations into crashes over the last decade have uncovered a flaw in Takata's airbags that cause them to explode violently in a driver's face. In a majority of cases, shrapnel from the propellant canister is released during this explosion, causing even further injury and in some cases, death.
It's because of concerns for consumer safety that a massive recall was implemented earlier this year. It now includes an estimated 34 million vehicles across 10 auto manufacturers. The flaw, engineers believe, lies in the chemical propellant used to trigger the inflation of vehicle airbags. It has been reported by some that the presence of moisture may have compromised the chemical compound, causing it to react more violently than in more controlled settings.
But even more alarming than this is the fact that emails from Takata employees suggest that the company may have been aware of the defect as far back as 2001. If Takata is found to have been negligent for failing to correct a serious safety hazard, then compensation could be owed to the more than 100 people who have suffered injuries because of this automotive defect. Compensation may be owed to the families of the eight people who were killed by the airbags in crashes as well.
Source: The Atlantic, "How Airbags Are Supposed to Work," Adrienne Lafrance, June 27, 2015