A defect in the air bag inflators has caused 11 deaths in the US and five more deaths internationally. The latest death occurred in Los Angeles, California, where a 50-year-old woman tragically died after being involved in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the woman’s death was caused by metal shrapnel and debris that flew out of the vehicle’s air bag. Reports later circulated that the victim’s car, a 2001 Honda Civic, had been recalled more than eight years ago.
In addition to the 11 car crash fatalities caused by Takata air bags, hundreds of people have sustained injuries due to the defective air bags.
The issue in most of these instances is that the Takata air bags can spray shrapnel into drivers and passengers when the air bags deploy upon impact. This is a particular problem for drivers and passengers in humid areas, where the heat and humidity can cause ammonium nitrate in the inflators to deteriorate and later result in a malfunctioning air bag.
Virtually every major auto manufacturer used the Takata air bag inflators, prompting a recall of almost 70 million air bags in the US since 2014. This is the largest automotive recall in history, with approximately one out of every seven vehicles driven on U.S. roads being recalled so far. However, the scope of the recall has made it difficult for car dealerships and car manufacturers to repair and replace the air bags in a timely manner.
The NHTSA cautioned that repairs and replacements of the defective Takata air bags would not be completed until 2019 because there simply aren’t enough replacement parts available at this time. Worse yet, a report issued by the U.S. Senate declared that there are still new cars being manufactured with the defective air bags.
For more information, read the CNN.com article, “Defective Takata Air Bag Blamed for 11th Death.”
If you or someone you love was injured as a result of using a defective product, or if you were involved in a car accident in New Jersey, you should speak with a qualified product liability and personal injury lawyer immediately. The experienced NJ personal injury attorneys at Andres & Berger can help you get compensated for your injuries. Contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation about your case.