A news report on cw39.com warned its readers that they should heed any recall notice they receive in the mail regarding their motor vehicles. Sometimes the item subject to recall is more of an annoyance than anything. However, making sure that you follow through on the recall notice can save a life. According to the news report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began the Takata airbag recall back in 2008, but estimates that there are over 17 million defective Takata airbags on U.S. roadways today.
One need look no further than the ongoing Takata airbag recall saga for evidence of the importance of making sure you heed recall warnings. The Japanese vehicle manufacturer Honda recently announced that the company could confirm that a person driving a 2002 Honda Civic died in 2018 in a crash in Arizona because of a broken Takata airbag inflation system. The fatal incident brings the Takata airbag death toll to 16. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opined that over 200 people had sustained injuries due to the defective Takata airbags. In total, two of the people who died were behind the wheel of Ford vehicles, and the remaining 14 victims were operating Hondas when the airbag failed.
The NHTSA requires car dealers to replace the recalled Takata airbag inflators without charge to the consumer. The Takata airbag recall effort is enormous. The recall affects 37 million vehicles and about 50 million single airbag units spanning nearly two decades of model years. The recall campaign, which is the largest in U.S. history, involves model years 2000 to 2018. The cost to automakers is staggering. Notwithstanding, dealerships, to their credit, have worked diligently with consumers to avoid delays and get the repairs done correctly and timely. However, some dealerships have noted that obtaining parts for older model cars can be difficult.
The NHTSA confirmed why the Takata airbag inflators killed or injured so many. The agency found that humidity degrades the mechanisms which inflate the airbags. The degradation of ammonium nitrate in the inflation devices causes a powerful explosion catapulting shrapnel into the vehicle’s passenger compartment.
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