The Takata airbag recall has placed a national spotlight on the dangers surrounding the faulty airbags. However, a critical safety issue is often missing from the discussion: the grave danger of abandoned or used airbags manufactured by Japan-based Takata.
Used car dealers and body shops will “resurrect” used Takata bags and put them in other vehicles. What often happens is a vehicle is damaged in a wreck and declared a total loss by an insurance company, but then the car is given a salvage title, rebuilt and resold. Salvage yards will pull a Takata airbag inflator from another car and place it in the salvaged vehicle, essentially putting a ticking time bomb right in front of a driver’s body.
A resurrected Takata airbag can severely injure motorists, even in minor fender-benders. We’ve seen cases where a used Takata airbag exploded and shot metal shards into the windpipe of the driver. In these types of cases, clients do not know they’re driving or riding in vehicles equipped with defective airbags under recall.
Since the first recalls were announced in April 2013, Takata and auto manufacturers have failed to sufficiently track the millions of vehicles with these dangerous airbags they have recalled and replaced, including those in salvage yards. As a result, these dangerous airbags find their way into vehicles being operated on U.S. roadways.
Ammonium nitrate, the chemical used to fuel what is supposed to be a controlled explosion to inflate the bag, is housed in a metal canister designed to contain the explosion. The chemical can deteriorate and become unstable, causing the propellant to burn too fast, blow apart the metal canister and shoot shrapnel into the occupant compartment.
At least 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries in the U.S. have been linked to defective Takata airbags. An estimated 50 million Takata airbags installed in U.S. vehicles have been recalled but only 43 percent have been replaced, which means, unfortunately, more injuries will occur.
As an attorney at Langdon & Emison with offices in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri as well as Chicago, Illinois, David Brose represents victims across the country that have been seriously injured or killed in a wide variety of accidents, including automobile fires, defective automobile design, semi-truck collisions and other types of dangerous products.