The recent Takata airbag recall is the largest in United States history with over sixty million recalls. This recall affects numerous car companies, including Toyota, Tesla, BMW, Ford, and Honda, among others. Cars manufactured within the last fifteen years are at risk, therefore, approximately one in five cars on the road today are affected by the recall. With demand for new airbags skyrocketing and supply devastatingly low, drivers are left wondering what to do next.
Takata's defective airbags have caused over one hundred injuries and ten deaths in the United States alone. The chemical inside the airbag that causes it to inflate, ammonium nitrate, destabilizes over time. When the airbag goes off, the casing surrounding the chemical breaks apart so violently that it propels shards of metal into drivers. The breakdown of the chemical is caused by long exposure to heat and humidity, which explains why the majority of deaths and injuries have been in the southern part of the U.S. There have been documents that suggest Takata executives were aware of the impending danger long before the actual recall, but did nothing. Accordingly, opening a criminal investigation has been discussed by U.S. Senators.
Recently manufactured cars containing the defective airbags are left sitting on car lots, waiting to be replaced. Some dealerships refuse to sell models with bad airbags, but others still have them on the market. Consumers who own cars that were made within the last fifteen years are strongly encouraged to check if their car contains defective airbags. However, if they are checked and they do contain defective airbags, their problems are only starting. Because of the magnitude of the recall, supply of new and safe airbags cannot begin to match the increasing demand. Until replacements are available, consumers are left to attempt to make arrangements where they do not have to drive the defective car, or as some have put it, risk driving with a ticking time bomb.