Injury Law Blog

Countless deadly Takata airbags remain on the road

We’ve been hearing about the tragedies, injuries and deaths caused by Takata airbags for a decade. So far, 22 people have died and countless people have been injured in relatively minor accidents that result in these dangerous airbags exploding and sending bullet-like metal projectiles into vehicle compartments. These deadly incidents have prompted automakers and national governments to institute mandatory recalls instructing vehicle owners to bring their cars in for an immediate repair.

Mandatory recalls and free repairs are all well and good — except for one extremely glaring problem. Millions of vehicle owners haven’t gotten the memo, or just can’t be bothered to take their cars in to get them fixed. This is particularly dangerous for owners of Takata airbag-equipped cars that fall under the Alpha category. Certain Honda’s for example — representing approximately 60,000 unfixed cars in the United States — have Alpha-class airbags with a 50 percent chance of exploding and killing their occupants in a minor collision.

The last fatality attributed to Takata recalls happened in January 2018 and federal regulators in the United States, and carmakers, keep adding more at-risk vehicles that require recall repairs to their lists. However, if vehicle owners don’t find out, it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the end of deaths and injuries caused by these dangerous devices. According to an executive vice president from Honda North America, “We’re good at repairing vehicles, but finding and convincing customers of older model vehicles to complete recalls, now that has proved a difficult challenge.”

If you or your loved one was hurt or killed by a Takata airbag, learn about your legal rights under California product liability law.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “10 years later, thousands of risky air bags are still on the road,” Ashley Halsey III, May 23, 2018