The controversy surrounding Takata’s defective air bag inflators continues. New reports have confirmed that the manufacturer’s faulty parts have caused yet another fatality in the U.S. But what sets this incident apart from previous air bag malfunctions is that this is the first time it involved an exploding passenger-side inflator.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that the death occurred inside a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500. The pickup truck was one of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles recalled in 2015 after news of Takata’s defective inflators came to light. The total number of U.S. deaths due to Takata’s faulty air bag inflators has now hit 26.
NHTSA has urged all 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 owners to stop driving the trucks until their dealer replaces the air bag inflator. The agency also encouraged all drivers to check if their vehicles have an open recall for their air bag inflators.
The issue with Takata air bag inflators
Considered one of the largest safety recalls in U.S. history, the Takata air bag recall led to millions of automobile recalls. As of 2022, dealers recalled and replaced 67 million air bags, while 11 million await replacement.
The problem with Takata’s air bags lies with their inflators. Typically, inflators are metal cartridges loaded with propellant that rapidly expand in response to impact, producing enough gas to inflate air bags immediately. But Takata’s inflators lacked a chemical drying agent, which exposed the parts to moisture and humidity. When conditions are met, the inflators can prematurely deploy during even the smallest impacts. At worst, they can violently explode and send shrapnel flying into vehicle occupants, causing injuries or death.
On top of the 26 deaths they’ve caused, the defective inflators have also caused over 400 injuries in America.
What to do if an air bag rupture injured you
If an air bag explodes on you, hurling shrapnel into your face and causing injuries, you may be able to recover compensation from the auto manufacturer through a product liability lawsuit. It would be best to consult with a legal professional first to determine if you have enough evidence for a case.