Why Are Takata Airbags A Significant Safety Hazard?

by Terry Bryant

At first, the recall surrounding Takata airbags was relatively small, only affecting a few major automotive makes. It’s becoming increasingly clear, however, that the company was resisting a full recall. Now, around 8 million cars and 15 vehicle makes are part of the recall, and these numbers will likely rise again as more details become apparent. With its slow response, the part supplier is receiving heavy criticism, though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also coming under fire.

Takata airbags have been identified as a significant safety hazard as many are made with defective parts. Specifically, every device is fitted with a canister of propellant that ignites in the event of an accident and inflates the safety cushion in under a second. In flawed devices, the propellant canister may fire too quickly and come under an intense amount of pressure. When this occurs, the canister may explode, hurling metal fragments into the vehicle’s cabin. The defect has already been responsible for at least four deaths and 100 injuries, and these numbers are expected to rise.

At first, the company blamed the problem on humidity and poor propellant storage, but now experts believe it has to do with the company’s poor quality controls and manufacturing processes. Investigators have found rust and bad welds in many of the defective devices, suggesting that company-wide negligence is responsible for the danger.

Anyone who is driving an Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge/Ram, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Pontiac, Saab, Subaru or Toyota should check online to see if their vehicle is part of the recall. This is especially true for those who own a Toyota, Honda or Dodge/Ram vehicle, as these makes have been affected the most.