Nearly five years after the initial recall, an additional 2.7 million vehicles have been added to the international recalls for vehicle airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation – many in San Diego and surrounding counties. The defective airbags have been installed on cars and trucks with model years from 2002 through 2015.
There have been on-going international recalls for the defective airbags since 2014. Consumer Reports investigative articles indicate that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called the airbag recall disastrous and “the largest and most complex safety recall in history.”
The airbags have been found to have specific defects that cause them to explode on impact.
According to the NHTSA, the defect is due to the break-down of propellant in the inflator inside the airbag. The breakdown can be exacerbated by high temperatures or humidity. This causes pressure inside the airbag which can lead to explosions and shrapnel projectiles toward the driver and passengers.
Airbags were originally designed and stored in the steering wheel to protect drivers. As airbag technology improved, they were included in the side of the car for both the driver and passenger. Even when they deploy as designed, airbags have been known to cause whiplash, brain injuries and neck and spine injuries.
Serious or severe airbag malfunctions and injuries were relatively rare – until the Takata defects. Possible scenarios with the defective Takata product include:
- Failure of the internal airbag components that result in untimely deployment – the airbag may explode while driving without any type of impact
- Shredding of the internal components of the airbag during deployment, causing debris to shower the inhabitants of the vehicle
- Unnecessary deployment – the airbag may deploy in a low impact fender-bender
- Failure of the airbag inflator and sensor may cause delayed deployment during a crash, or the airbag may not deploy at all, even in case of a high impact crash
Injuries continue unabated
The airbag manufacturer has pled guilty to fraud and agreed to pay more than $1 billion dollars in penalties for hiding the defect from consumers. While thousands of defective airbags have been replaced, thousands more still need to be replaced.
According to KGTV, San Diego, local resident Alexander Brangman’s 26-year -old daughter, Jewel Brangman, was killed by a defective Takata airbag. Brangman said that his daughter was involved in a minor accident, which caused the airbag to explode; shrapnel struck and killed Miss Brangman.
Brangman expressed sadness and frustration at the news of additional recalls; he said he views the situation as entirely preventable at this point.
If you are involved in a car accident and your airbag deployed injuring you or a loved one, please call Jeffery E. Estes immediately. Make sure that you save all evidence of the airbag failure, do not allow any pieces of the airbag to be discarded, and do not allow the insurance company to take possession of your vehicle.
Use video and pictures to document the condition of the airbag and all associated damage. Please call 619-223-8021 to schedule a free consultation.
If you are unsure if your car has a defective Takata airbag or is under recall, you can check by going here: safercar.gov.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports that local dealerships are pleading with Californians to replace the defective airbags. Honda spokesman Chris Martin advises drivers to bring their cars in with -or without – an appointment. “If a customer drops in, the dealer will work to accommodate them that day. We are working to make these repairs as easy and convenient as possible to motivate owners to seek repair before someone else is tragically injured or killed,” Martin said.
However, the issue of replacement – the product availability and the man hours required to replace the airbags – could take years. In the meantime, drivers and passengers continue to be exposed to catastrophic hazards.
Jeffrey Estes has the experience and aggressive tenacity to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Call the law offices of Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates to schedule a free case evaluation.
Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates
501 West Broadway, Suite 1650
San Diego, CA 92101