It seems each new month brings new announcements about Takata Corp. motor vehicle air bags. Texas readers surely are aware about the hazards associated with these devices that are so widely used in the automotive industry that nearly every car manufacturer is feeling the effects of the defective part recalls.
As we noted in a previous post, there’s a lot of uncertainty about why some bags are failing. What is known is that faulty bags have been the source of flying shrapnel that has resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people, nine of them in the U.S. They’re also blamed for injuring more than 100 people.
The latest development in the story came this week when Honda Motor announced it is expanding its recall of Honda and Acura vehicles by more than 2.2 million vehicles in the U.S. That brings the total number of Honda-made vehicles recalled in this country to over 8.5 million.
What investigators have determined about this product defect is that it involves the air bag inflators. The explosive chemical that deploys the bags in a crash has a tendency to degrade over time and become unstable. Exposure to humidity or moisture is also a problem.
The defect has been known about since at least 2004. But it wasn’t until 2008 that the first recall was issued, and that only involved 4,000 Honda vehicles. Today, 14 carmakers have identified some 24 million vehicles that need to have their inflators switched out. The volume of need is so high that there’s a shortage of replacements and it’s taking months to get cars fixed. Meanwhile, a lot of people are driving around with potentially deadly devices in their cars.
Automotive accidents are responsible for too many serious or fatal injuries as it is. In this case, defective parts that are supposed to minimize injury in a crash pose a hazard to life and limb. And it’s hard to know when the issue be resolved.