Extreme Heat Results In Takata Airbags Exploding In A Crash, Recall Intitiated

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Takata is recalling tens of millions of airbags it has produced over a serious concern, and indeed some actual cases, of the airbags exploding due to prolonged exposure to heat. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a warning that tens of millions of cars fitted with Takata airbags are at risk of damage. The airbags might just explode in the event of a crash due to prolonged exposure to hot and humid conditions. “Tens of millions of vehicles with Takata airbags are under recall,” an NHTSA site set up for the recalls says. “Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these airbags to explode when deployed. Such explosions have caused injuries and deaths.”

According to NHTSA’s statistics, there are currently 50 million such airbags in almost 37 million cars plying U.S. roads. A sizable number of the affected cars are in the states of Texas and California, where the natural hot and humid weather is causing the chemical propellant inside the airbags to explode. The explosions send shrapnel flying inside the cabin, hurting passengers in the process. the states of Alabama, Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Lousiana, and South Carolina are also considered high-risk locations. The persistent hot and humid conditions at these places can lead to defective airbags exploding in the unfortunate event of a collision.

The NHTSA’s site has a database of vehicles fitted with the defective Takata airbags. Consumers can simply type in their car registration number to check whether theirs is one of the vehicles part of the massive recall. The agency also warned that more vehicles will be added to the recall, bringing the total to between 65 and 70 million affected airbags by December 2019.

Airbag manufacturer Takata has filed for bankruptcy-court protection in the U.S. and Japan in 2017 and was later bought by U.S.-based Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion. The Japanese company had been reeling from costs and liabilities worth tens of billions dollars accrued over almost a decade of lawsuits and recalls. Takata airbags have been linked to at least 180 injuries and 20 deaths. The latest recall to date has affected a total of 19 automakers and is the largest recall in U.S. history.

Image Credit: O’Rielly

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