In order to try and prevent further deaths and injuries to drivers or passengers on the road, the U.S. government has issued a shocking plea to the almost five million people currently driving vehicles with potentially deadly Takata airbags. Drivers of the affected vehicles are being urged to visit their dealership immediately to have the airbags inspected and possibly repaired or replaced.
According to Takata Corp., the Tokyo-based supplier of the airbags in question, the inflating mechanisms within the airbags may rupture violently, causing multiple metal fragments to disperse rapidly into whatever may be in front of them. Safety advocates have confirmed four fatalities were caused by the defect, while many others were confirmed to have been seriously injured by it.
During the past two years, automakers such as Toyota, General Motors (GM) and many others have recalled millions of vehicles around the world believed to be plagued by the faulty airbag inflators; however, regulators at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) are still receiving reports of incidents involving the defective airbags inflators on a regular basis. Considering that reports indicate there are more than 20 million vehicles estimated to be experiencing the problem, the agency’s worries are certainly valid.
The U.S. government’s plea comes shortly after a Florida crash resulted in the death of a 46-year-old woman. The woman, now identified as Hie Thi Tran, was found with extremely severe neck wounds now believed to have been caused by the metal fragments that exploded from her 2001 Honda Accord’s airbags. The 2001 Honda Accord she was driving was under recall.
Roughly 247,000 older model vehicles are now under recall by Toyota due to the defective passenger airbags. Takata and Toyota are continually working together to discover why the rupture keeps occurring and to gauge whether or not high absolute humidity, or the measurement of water vapor in the air, plays a part in the deadly defect.
On Monday, Takata said that it believes in Toyota’s recall decisions and will continue to work with government agencies and its own customers to replace the parts responsible and analyze what can be done to prevent this problem in the future.
The NHTSA warning includes vehicles made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, GM and Ford. A full list of affected vehicles and year models may be found on the NHTSA website at www.safercar.gov.