Airbags are used to protect drivers in collisions, however, Takata’s defective airbags have done exactly the opposite. In fact, their exploding airbag modules have been the source of the largest-ever automotive recall in America according to reports. These defective airbag inflate with far too much force, causing and explosion that can result in serious injuries to drivers and passengers, rather than protecting them.
Now, Takata has announced it will stop using ammonium nitrate in their airbag inflators, which is known to be a volatile chemical. While the company still hasn’t acknowledged the source of the unexplained explosions, they are now taking action to try to eliminate the safety hazards in their products.
If Takata doesn’t continue to improve safety with their airbag inflators, they could put more lives and their security of their business at risk. Just recently, Toyota Motor Corp. has mentioned that it is looking into finding an alternative supplier to help keep up with the pace of recalls. This could mean a major loss in business if they opt to go with another company for the future.
Decades of Injuries Due to Dangerous Chemicals
The Japanese supplier’s use of this volatile chemical has led to the recall of tens of millions of vehicles that may have potentially dangerous airbag inflators installed in them. If not fixed, these inflators could deploy with too much force and result in metal fragments being sprayed inside the vehicle, causing serious injuries.
Since 2003, numerous cases of ruptured Takata airbags inflators have occurred—with all of them using ammonium nitrate as a propellant. So far, the defective airbag inflators have sadly been linked to eight and hundreds of injuries. There are likely more injuries and fatalities that haven't been reported.
Millions of Vehicles to Be Recalled
Takata continues to try to mitigate the danger it has put drivers and passengers in by holding a major recall to fix their defective product. Currently, Takata is planning an extensive campaign to increase awareness and ensure that all necessary vehicles are fixed. According to estimates, 32 million vehicles may be recalled.
The following automakers have vehicles involved in the recall:
- General Motors
They are also putting an emphasis on recalls for high-humidity states such as Texas and Florida, as many of the ruptured airbag cases took place in this environment. While no cause has still been nailed down, it is believed that the humidity may have something to do with the explosions.
In addition to the recall Takata is currently running, two U.S. Senators are urging the company to open up a recall for all vehicles containing their defective airbags. The Senators cite the NHTSA’s recent inquiry into a ruptured airbag inflator in the most recent 2015 VW Tiguan as a serious concern regarding the safety of their products. The Senate hearing regarding Takata also raised concerns over the use of ammonium nitrate mixtures, which Takata has now announced it will stop using in their airbag inflators.
Overall, many still fear that Takata is not taking enough steps to protect drivers and their passengers from the serious hazards that these inflators can cause. As the case continues to develop, Takata will be under careful scrutiny as they make the necessary changes to improve their defective product.