According to KHOU News, two deaths have occurred in the Houston area as a result of defective Takata airbags that have been recently recalled. It is estimated that there are roughly 250,000 affected vehicles in the Houston area.
About the Defective Takata Airbags
In response to defective Takata airbags, millions of vehicles have been recalled. The defective airbags are responsible for multiple deaths, as well as hundreds of injuries across the United States. As explained by experts, the airbags are basically exploding when they are deployed, causing shrapnel to fly out at the drivers.
In the Houston, Texas-area, two deaths have recently occurred in what were described as minor collision. These deaths were the result of injuries caused by faulty Takata airbags Carlos Solis, 35 years old, and Huma Hanif, 17 years old, are the names of the victims.
In response to Huma Hanif’s fatal accident, Georgia Chakiris, regional administrator for the National Highway Safety Administration, has publicly stated, “She should have been able to walk away from that crash. Instead she became the 10th fatality in the United States”.
The Houston City Council’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee discussed the recalls for the airbags on Tuesday. The city leaders held a news conference afterwards, encouraging everyone to pay attention to the recalls and to check to see if their vehicle may be defected. The recalls impact more than 12 different automakers.
Cars that were made between 2001-2003 are particularly at the highest risk, and hot humid environments seem to exacerbate the problem.
Facts About the Airbags
According to Consumer Reports:
- Vehicles made by 14 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.
- The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were mostly installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2015. Some of those airbags could deploy explosively, injuring or even killing car occupants
- At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.
- NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. As postulated early on, environmental moisture, high temperatures, and age as associated with the defect that can improperly inflate the airbags and even send shrapnel into the occupant
- To date, there have been 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries due to this problem in the U.S
- Through various announcements, the recall has tripled in size over the past year. It currently stands at more than 100 million vehicles worldwide with airbag inflators needing to be replaced before 2019