The use of ammonium-nitrate inflators in vehicle air bags was flatly a horrible idea at its inception, and that sad fact has been amply borne out many times since the incorporation of such inflators in products made by a leading global air bag manufacturer.
Readers of our personal injury blog in California and elsewhere might know something about those inflators and the Japan-based Takata Corporation, which has churned out air bags using ammonium-nitrate inflators for years. In fact, scores of millions of passenger vehicles around the world have Takata air bags installed.
Tragically, those products are closely linked with a galling risk, namely, the propensity for air bags to violently explode on select occasions during their deployment.
And when that aberrational result occurs, the outcome can be sadly predictable. In fact, safety regulators state that at least nine people to date have died from deployed Takata air bags that have hurled shrapnel at their faces and other parts of their bodies. In addition to those fatalities (eight of which occurred in the United States), nearly 100 other people have reportedly suffered bag-related injuries.
All of the fatal accidents involved occupants in Honda vehicles, which has understandably rocked that auto maker to its corporate core. The death of the most recent victim — who was driving a Honda Accord — was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just last week.
Nearly 20 million vehicles are already under a recall notice, and safety officials say that they might expand the recall list yet further.
It is an obvious imperative that any motorist in California or elsewhere in the country who owns a vehicle with a recalled air bag act with dispatch to have it repaired or replaced.