Airbag Recall Record: More than 6 Million Vehicle Recalled in 2013
We have come to rely so much on airbags to keep us safe while driving the roads and highways of Texas that we hardly think about them/ But perhaps we should. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released records showing that the number of recalls due to defective airbags has reached a record in 2013, and there are 2 ½ months to go.
So far, within the first 9 1/2 months of this year, car makers have issued recalls for more than 6 million cars in 29 separate recall actions based on potential airbag malfunctions. This breaks the record of 23 recalls that was set just last year.
This year, defective airbags have injured a number of people and killed at least one driver. At times, airbags have failed to deploy when they were supposed to, in serious car accidents, and at other times they have deployed on unsuspecting drivers as they were riding down the highway, even though they weren’t in an accident. In some cases, they caused vehicle passengers to be injured by flying metal shrapnel after the airbag exploded.
Some experts believe the number of airbag recalls will continue to rise for a while, in part because there are more airbags in vehicles than in previous years, which means the systems that run them have to be far more complex. Also, vehicle manufacturers tend to buy airbags from one supplier and use those devices on a variety of car models. This means a problem with one vehicle model can often lead the companies to recall one or more other models. Another possible problem is that Americans are keeping their cars longer, and older cars can sometimes develop more problems.
One reason airbags are susceptible to problems is because they have to perform almost perfectly. While many are under the impression that airbags are soft air cushions that gently prevent vehicle occupants from hitting anything hard, the fact of the matter is, they deploy with huge amounts of force, with massive amounts of air being released in milliseconds. To work properly, they have to work just right. If they fail to deploy, deploy too slowly, or without enough air, serious injury and death can occur from the accident. But it they deploy too quickly, with too much force, or at the wrong time, the airbags themselves could cause injury or death. Also, the systems that control them often sit unused for years, but must work instantly the first time they’re activated.
We depend on airbag systems to keep us safe in the case of an accident. But for that to happen requires a high level of precision that auto manufacturers are apparently having a difficult time reaching.
If you own a vehicle that has been recalled for a defective safety device, please follow the instructions for the recall and have it fixed. But if you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to defective airbags, contact the experienced Texas Automotive Defect Attorneys at Hill Law Firm as quickly as possible.