If asked for a date for the invention of the airbag, most people would probably guess that it was developed sometime in the 1980s since the airbag did not become standard on vehicles until the 1990s. But, surprisingly, the history of the airbag stretches all the way back to World War 2 and the 1940s. In fact, the first airbag system was patented in 1951 after the inventor was, ironically, inspired by the compressed air systems used by torpedoes. This base of knowledge coupled with the desire to protect his family led John W. Hetrick to develop this safety system we now take for granted.
However, we should perhaps not be so quick to take these safety devices for granted and assume that they will function properly due to the Takata airbag inflator defect. This defect can result in severe injuries or deaths in even minor accidents. The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak is dedicated to fighting for hard-working Arkansans who have suffered a serious injury or death due to a vehicle defect. To schedule a free consultation, call (479) 316-0438 today.
What causes the defect in Takata airbags?
To date, Takata and federal regulators are unsure of the exact mechanism, but they believe that the problem has to do with the chemical composition of the propellant used in the inflators. The inflator problem appears to be further aggravated by high-humidity conditions, but the defect can occur in any climate. The recall was originally limited to high humidity regions but it has since been expanded to cover the entire United States.
Are there injuries due to the inflator problems?
The Takata airbag defect can inflict extremely serious injuries or even death when a vehicle airbag deploys. When the airbag deploys the inflators are prone to react with too much force. This excessive force causes the airbag to launch pieces of metal at the face and neck of the individual it is supposed to protect.
To date there are 5 confirmed deaths due to the airbag defect and a sixth death where evidence points to the Takata airbag, but it has yet to be confirmed. These incidents include:
- Devin Xu (California) – Xu was driving when he accidentally hit a building while driving in a parking lot. Despite wearing a seatbelt, the medical examiner reported severe facial trauma due to a “foreign object inside [the] airbag.”
- Ashley Parham (Oklahoma) – Parham, a young driver, was driving her 2001 Honda Accord across her high school’s parking lot when, as young drivers are wont to do, she got into a minor fender bender that caused her airbags to deploy. Metal shrapnel launched by the air bag contributed to Ms. Parham’s tragic death.
- Hien Thi Tran (Florida) – Tran’s death was originally investigated as a homicide due to the severe injuries to her face and neck. Investigators later pieced together that the injuries were inflicted by her airbag.
- Gurjit Rathore (Virginia) – Rathore died from blood loss after shrapnel for her Honda Civic’s airbag left a large wound in her neck.
- Name Undisclosed (Malaysia) – The fifth death occurred in Malaysia, but the driver’s identity has not been released. Like the other deaths, these injuries were due to wounds from shrapnel launched by the airbag.
- Carlos Solis (Texas) – The sixth death has not yet been confirmed, but the initial facts make it likely that the death was, indeed, due to the Takata airbag. The sheriff’s report states that a piece of metal struck the driver in the neck after the airbag deployed.
Many other injuries have occurred due to this dangerous and deadly defect.
What vehicles are impacted by this defect?
As one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of airbags to automakers, the Takata airbag defect is found in a broad array of vehicles produced by popular manufactures. Vehicles in this recall include:
- 2001 – 2006 BMW M3 Coupe
- 2001 – 2006 BMW M3 Convertible
- 2000 – 2005 BMW 3 Series Sedan
- 2000 – 2006 BMW 3 Series Coupe
- 2000 – 2005 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon
- 2000 – 2006 BMW 3 Series Convertible
- 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
- 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
- 2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
- 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
- 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen
- 2004 – 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer
- 2006 – 2007 Mitsubishi Raider
- 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
- 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
- 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
- 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
- 2008 Dodge Ram 5500
- 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
- 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
- 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
- 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord
- 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
- 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
- 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
- 2006 – Honda Ridgeline
- 2003 – 2007 Mazda 6
- 2006 – 2007 Mazda Speed 6
- 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
- 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
- 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
- 2005 – Acura RL
- 2003 – 2007 Mazda 6
Contact Arkansas Defective Takata Airbag Injury Lawyer Ken Kieklak
Ken Kieklak of the Kieklak Law firm is dedicated to fighting for people severely injured due to a vehicle defect. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.