When designed correctly, airbags will save lives. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, airbags have saved approximately 35,000 lives since 1987. However, when airbags are defectively designed, they create a high risk of severe injury and death. As of 2009, defective airbags were responsible for 296 deaths, 59 life threatening injuries, and countless severe injuries.
Signs that you have defective airbags are when one of the following occurs:
• The airbag inflates too quickly and aggressively, violently hitting the occupant in the face; or
• The airbag ruptures before inflation, spewing pieces of metal into the occupant’s body.
NHTSA has opened an investigation into the issue and says that it knows of six incidents of ruptured bags and three injuries in high-humidity Florida and Puerto Rico. As of mid-July, eight car manufacturers including Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, and Subaru had joined in the recall of these defective Takata airbags. In the latest actions:
• Honda recalled 1.02 million vehicles in North America and 2.03 million worldwide. They were built from 2000 through 2005 and include some models of Civic, CR-V, Odyssey and Element. With this expansion, air bag recalls have affected nearly 4 million of the company’s older vehicles in North America.
• Nissan recalled 755,000 vehicles worldwide built from 2001 through 2003, with about a quarter-million Pathfinder, Cube and Infiniti FX35 models in North America.
• Mazda recalled nearly 160,000 vehicles made from 2002 through 2004, with about 15,000 in North America, including RX-8 and early Mazda6 sedans.
• Regional recalls in the U.S. by Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, BMW, Ford and Chrysler of certain vehicles in humid climates. NHTSA estimates that 1.5 million vehicles could be affected — the totals and lists of vehicles still were being compiled.
• Subaru is recalling nearly 8,600 Subaru Legacy cars, Outback wagons, Baja crossovers, and Impreza cars.
Since 2008, more than 10 million cars containing the defective Takata airbags have been recalled.