Air bags are safety devices designed to deploy in the event of a crash. The car has sensors that detect when the car has collided with another object. The sensors notify the car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), and the ECU assesses the strength of the impact. If the impact severity reaches a certain threshold, the ECU notifies the airbag inflators. The components of the air bag inflators then create a chemical reaction that produces a gas. This gas then fills the empty air bag, causing it to inflate, pop out of its holder, and stop the driver or passenger from hitting his or her head and other body parts on the windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, side windows and other parts of the vehicle. While this sounds like a very complex and slow process, a properly operating air bag can be fully deployed in less than one second after a collision.
A properly functioning air bag has the ability to reduce your chance of a car accident fatality by up to 30%. However, a defective or non-functioning air bag can either exacerbate your injures or fail to prevent serious impact-related injuries.
In some instances, the sensor, ECU, and air bag inflator may malfunction, causing the air bags to inflate partially or not at all following a serious collision. In other situations, the ECU may malfunction and cause the air bag to deploy unexpectedly when no collision has occurred, causing a driver to potentially lose control of their vehicle.
Air bags are designed to save lives and prevent injuries. However, they can cause injuries on their own, including broken noses, whiplash and other cervical spine injuries, traumatic brain injuries, lacerations and more; especially if the bags malfunction and deploy with excessive force or at the wrong time.
Takata, a major manufacturer of air bags, is responsible for the largest product safety recall in U.S. history. Takata supplies air bags to over 14 different car manufacturers. These car brands include:
According to the recall, the air bag inflators do not contain a required chemical, which has resulted in air bag explosions and unnecessary deployment. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NTHSA) has been investigating the recall and believes that the Takata air bags are improperly inflating due to the deficiency referenced in conjunction with the airbag unit’s age, hot summer temperatures and humidity.
Takata air bags were installed in 100 million cars manufactured between 2002 and 2015, affecting millions of New Jersey residents. To date, hundreds of injuries have been reported, and at least ten deaths have occurred due to the malfunctioning airbags.
The recall by Takata requires replacement of the air bag inflators in affected vehicles before 2019. A complete list of car models has not yet been released and/or is continually being updated. However, you can search for recall information on your vehicle by accessing the NHTSA database here.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed due to a defective Takata air bag, or any other brand of airbag which malfunctioned, the experienced New Jersey auto product liability attorneys at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari can assist you in pursuing compensation for your injuries and other losses. Schedule a no-cost consultation today by calling us at (973) 635-5400.
If you need to consult a New Jersey personal injury attorney, you need to contact Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari. The initial consultation is always free.