You may have seen news reports recently about Takata airbags. These life saving devices, that have been installed in millions of cars over the past 20 or so years, are supposed to keep you safe in case you get into an accident. But what has happened is the company took some shortcuts, and those driving their cars are paying the price. These airbags can end up exploding open, sending shrapnel throughout the vehicle.
Takata is a Japanese corporation that has a long history of manufacturing safety devices for cars. Their emphasis was once on seatbelts, but in the past 2 decades or so that has shifted to focusing more on airbags. Currently they supply about 20% of the airbags that are installed into vehicles worldwide.
Takata Exploding Airbags
Since around the year 2000, however, these airbags have been known to open with so much force that the housing compartment literally explodes. To make matters worse, the airbags often deploy in minor accidents that did not provide enough of an impact to necessitate airbag deployment. The result is that people are left with permanent injuries, or they are killed, because their life saving device didnt work the way it is supposed to. Allegations claim that Takata, as well as some of the auto manufacturers, knew about the problem, but failed to take action to correct it.
Brandi Owens was driving her Chevy Cruze in October 2013. She was trying to make her way to work and she ran into another vehicle at a low rate of speed. The impact should never have caused her airbag to deploy, but it did. It came open with so much force that the inflator for the airbag exploded and shrapnel flew into the vehicle. One piece of shrapnel hit Brandi in the eye leaving her permanently blind in that eye.
Ms. Nunez was driving her 2001 Honda Civic when she had to stop suddenly. She rear ended the vehicle in front of her and her airbag deployed. The exploding airbag sent shrapnel into her car and hit her in the forehead. She was drowning in her own blood. She now has blurred vision, and impaired sense of smell, chronic headaches, and missed nearly a month of work.
Many More Instances
There are many other instances where people have been injured or killed because their airbag deployed and exploded into the vehicle. To make sure that you are safe, visit the NHTSA website to determine if your vehicle is on the list of those recalled. If it is, take it to have the airbag fixed or replaced right away. It could save your life.