If you are in a Florida car crash, an airbag could save your life. But what if that airbag is defective and deploys unsafely or doesn’t inflate at all? Automobile airbags are designed to work like this:
- When there is a moderate to severe crash, a signal is sent from the air bag system’s control to the inflator within the air bag.
- The inflator starts a reaction that produces a harmless gas, which inflates the air bag in less than 11/20th of a second.
- Side-impact air bags inflate even more quickly since there is less space between the person and the striking object, such as the interior of the vehicle, another vehicle, a tree, or a pole.
Because air bags deploy very rapidly, serious or sometimes fatal injuries can occur if the occupant is too close or in direct contact with the air bag when it first begins to deploy. This is why it is recommended to sit as far back from the steering wheel or dashboard as possible and use seat belts to help prevent being “too close” to a deploying front air bag.
When airbags are defective, the results could be fatal. Recently some Takata-brand air bag inflators, which are used in many cars, have been found to be dangerous to drivers. The problem is that upon deployment of the air bag, excess pressure may cause the inflator to rupture, sending shards of metal into the passenger compartment. Other defective inflators have been known to explode or fail to open at all.
The latest airbag recall affects about 2.27 million Toyota vehicles with defective airbags. This isn’t just a problem for Toyota, though. Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler, Ford, and BMW also used the faulty inflators and issued recalls on certain vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were six reports of air bag inflator ruptures, all of which occurred in Florida and Puerto Rico.
When defective equipment fails to work properly, you and/or your passengers could be seriously hurt. To find out if your car has been recalled for a possible faulty airbag, have your vehicle identification number (VIN) handy and check the NHTSA database at safercar.org or call the Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, whether or not the airbag deployed, you should contact an experienced accident attorney in South Florida at the Law Office of David Benenfeld. You can reach us by calling [number type=”2″] or [number type=”1″] for a free consultation.