Drivers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and across the U.S. are being urged by automakers to check their vehicles for airbag recalls as another death was confirmed this month related to a Takata airbag inflator. The vehicle involved in the fatality, a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck, was part of a major recall and issued an urgent “do not drive” warning in 2018. It had yet to undergo repairs. Additional fatalities believed to be caused by malfunctioning airbags recently prompted Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) to issue an urgent “do not drive” order for certain 2005-2010 motor vehicles. Makes and models include the Dodge Charger, Magnum, and Challenger, and the Chrysler 300. The company is urging drivers of these cars who have not yet undergone a vehicle inspection in accordance with previous recall campaigns to not operate the vehicle until they have it inspected and repaired as deemed necessary. Attorney David Tapalian has helped clients throughout RI and MA who have been injured in auto accidents due to airbags and vehicle malfunctions. A faulty airbag can cause serious personal injury and even death. While airbags save the lives of thousands each year in car crashes, a defective airbag can dangerously put a driver and passengers in harm’s way.
Why are Some Airbags Dangerous?
Over time, when exposed to high heat and humid conditions, it’s been shown the metal parts inside the defective airbag may rupture. These explosions of shrapnel can result in severe injuries or death to the driver and/or their passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed at least 22 deaths in the U.S. due to defective Takata airbag inflators, and over 400 alleged injuries. Takata supplied these defective airbags to a large number of automakers, resulting in one of the biggest recalls in U.S. history. According to the NHTSA, approximately 67 million air bags are included in the recall in tens of millions of vehicles.