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Takata Vehicle Airbag Recall: Is Your Safety at Risk?

Megan Hayes | News Editor

Air Force Lt. Stephanie Erdman testifying in front of US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Capitol Hill in

Washington during the Takata recall process. / Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

"Do Not Drive" warnings have been issued this year for a wide array of vehicles across many manufacturers. This is because of these vehicles containing airbags by the company Takata, a Japanese automotive company. These vehicles made by 34 different brands are being recalled for what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is calling the "largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.

The vehicles containing Takata airbags have been produced between 2002 through 2015, spanning a wide variety of the cars many of us drive daily. The problem with this recall lies in the design of the airbag inflator - high heat or humidity may come in through the inflator, causing it to rupture and explode. In addition to this, the design of the inflator may send our shards of metal shrapnel, causing further injury or death.

Many airbags contain a chemical called ammonium nitrate, which is an inflation/explosion chemical used to inflate the bag in the event of a crash by the crash sensor. However, when exposed to moisture, this chemical degrades over time, and when deployed in an accident if degraded, it may explode with enough force to be deadly. As the chemical degrades, it becomes more unstable and volatile - which for some reason has not been halted in production. In these instances, a drying agent is crucial, especially for those who live in hot and humid climates. Takata has failed to include a drying agent within these airbags, however, exacerbating the problem further.

Many deaths have been caused by the faulty inflator system which is shocking all on its own, however - this is no new feat. Takata has been facing numerous lawsuits since 2013, and now is facing a class action lawsuit from many operators and their families hurt by the ongoing production of a deadly product. In the United States alone, 26 people have lost their lives and upwards of 400 people have been injured. Settlements are being offered in the amount of $846.55 for participating group members in the lawsuit.

There are currently millions of vehicles on the airbag recall list (included below) - and all drivers are being urged to ensure their car is not one of the ones included on the list. Not all Takata airbags are under recall, so no need to worry - additionally, if you find that your vehicle IS in fact on the recall list, there is an action plan available. Head to an authorized car dealer for the brand of your car and they will replace it free of charge - if any dealer attempts to charge you, contact the manufacturer of your car as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is imperative to ensure your and your passenger's safety when getting on the road - ensure that in case of an emergency or car accident, you are well protected.

Check this list to see if your car is affected:


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