How Safe Are Your Airbags?

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How Safe Are Your Airbags?

One-one hundredth of a second. This incredibly small span of time could mean the difference between life and death. As airbags have become more and more prevalent, we’ve come to take the science behind them for granted. No one thinks about a safety feature that functions properly, but when airbags deploy at the wrong time, even a fraction of a second too late or early, the consequences can be lethal.

The Takata Corporation, a large producer of airbags, has been under fire recently for a spate of recalls affecting over a dozen vehicle manufacturers. Vehicle makes affected include Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GM, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.

Airbag issues plague more cars than expected, and not all of them were late-model vehicles. Federal regulators said that automakers would recall around 2.1 million older vehicles that were unrelated to the Takata Corporation’s recent issues. The vehicles affected by the most recent recall include:

  • 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty
  • 2002-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees
  • 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Acura MDX
  • 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe
  • 2003-2004 Dodge Viper
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Matrix
  • 2003-2004 Toyota Avalon

Some of the vehicles recalled above have an overlap with the Takata recall, creating incredibly dangerous conditions for owners and operators. According to CNBC, “the latest recall highlights the difficulty automakers and regulators have with increasingly complex electronic systems. The agency said in a statement it could take several months for the companies to get enough parts to fix all the vehicles involved.”

The issue is complicated by the availability of replacement parts. While Takata is operating at full capacity, it may be many months before the demand created by the recall is fulfilled. Other factories are unable to aid the company due to differences in manufacturing processes, and the construction of a new facility by Takata could take upwards of a year.

According to Consumer Reports, cars in hot and humid climates are more at risk of an airbag failure in this particular case. Even if you live in a cooler, drier part of the country, you could still be at risk. If replacement parts aren’t immediately available, consider loaner or rental vehicles if at all possible. To see if your vehicle has been affected, you can use the free online resource www.recalls.gov. If you or someone you know has been affected by a faulty airbag, please contact us for a free consultation.