Airbag Defects: Moisture One Cause
Ideally, when you drive Texas highways, you hope to never get into an accident. But when the unthinkable happens, you count on your vehicle’s safety devices to keep you safe. But according to Takata Corp., one of the largest suppliers of airbags in the world, your airbags may not work correctly if the air outside is too damp.
The company is looking into the possibility that excessive moisture may have led to a defect in airbag inflators that so far has led to the recalls of 5.9 million vehicles worldwide since 2013. In a statement, CEO Shigehisa Takada, said, “We currently believe the high levels of absolute humidity in [Florida and Puerto Rico] are important factors; and as a result our engineers are analyzing the impact that humidity may have on the potential for an inflator malfunction.” The statement indicates that, besides humidity, the company is concerned about moisture on the road and in their factories, suggesting that all of them can result in degraded inflators.
This investigation mirrors the suspicions of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who released a report on June 11 suggesting that six incidents in which front airbags had ruptured in Florida and Puerto Rico may have been caused by high humidity. The agency is currently looking into defective airbag inflators in vehicles produced by Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota for model years 2002 – 2006.
According to reports from earlier this year, the propellant can crumble due to moisture in the air, and that can cause it to burn too quickly when it’s ignited in an accident, causing the inflator to explode and spray metal shrapnel into the vehicle’s cabin. According to the NHTSA, six incidents like this have been reported, in which they claim no one was injured seriously. There are other reports, however, that two people died in separate incidents in 2009, after being hit with the metal shards.
In the wake of the June 11 NHTSA report, Toyota announced that it would recall 2.3 million vehicles globally. Last year, BMW, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota recalled 3.6 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbag inflators.
If you have one of the affected vehicles, be sure to follow the recall instructions and take your car in for repair as soon as possible, since your life and the lives of your loved ones may be on the line, without you even realizing it until it’s too late. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident, and you believe the injuries or death may have been caused by a defective safety device, please contact the knowledgeable and experienced Texas Automobile Defect Attorney at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, to protect your rights under the law.