Austin Alert: Anyone with a Takata airbag is not safe
Millions of cars have recalled Takata airbags. Your car could easily be one of them. That means you could be in danger every time you drive it. The warnings are serious.
Takata’s airbags have been “linked to the deaths of at least 14 drivers,” according to The New York Times. They have injured more than 139 people worldwide. Some of the drivers died gruesome deaths. The arteries in their necks were severed when metal debris from exploding Takata airbags shot out into their faces as the bags blew up in minor collisions
The latest Takata airbag death is the worst of all
In late August 2016, a truck carrying ammonium nitrate, the accelerant in Takata airbags, exploded in Texas in front of a woman’s house in an early morning crash on a highway near the Mexican border. The home exploded too. After two days of searching for the home’s occupant, The New York Times reported that all local authorities could locate were her “bones, teeth and remains…in the smoldering debris of her house.” The truck was on its way to deliver Takata airbag parts to its factory in Mexico.
Takata put profits before people
Takata knew its airbags were dangerous when it began using ammonium nitrate as an accelerant. A Takata chemical engineer who retired in 1999 says he told the company that the airbags would kill people if it began manufacturing them with the volatile chemical.
But the company persisted. It had found a way to shoulder into the worldwide auto market. The then small Japanese company contacted General Motors with an “enticing offer,” according to another New York Times account. Takata told GM it had found a way to make much cheaper airbags than its competitors, considerably reducing the cost to the auto company.
According to The Times, GM turned to Autoliv, its Swedish airbag supplier, and asked it to “match the cheaper design.” If not, it would lose GM’s business. Autoliv examined Takata’s airbags and refused to use the dangerous propellant to cut costs.
Takata airbag recalls reach historic proportions in the U.S.
By June 2016, a story in Consumer Reports warned the public that cars made by 14 auto makers were being recalled in what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deemed “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. History.” A CNN report cited NHTSA’s warning to owners of 300,000 Hondas and Acuras to stop driving their cars immediately until their airbags could be replaced. Moisture can leak into the bags, especially in humid climates, destabilizing the ammonium nitrate.
Wayne Wright’s Austin office is ready to help Takata’s victims
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