The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into Nissan after the organization received over 120 complaints regarding Nissan airbag recalls. Even though a recall was announced in April 2014, people are still complaining of problems with the airbags. The main issue with the airbags involves software that will read that the front passenger seat is empty when in fact an occupant is sitting in the seat. If the software indicates that the front passenger seat is empty, the airbag may fail to deploy during an accident leaving passengers vulnerable to severe injuries.
Also in the news, Takata airbag recalls are growing and the issue with the Takata airbags is that they deploy with too much force and that outs occupants at risk of serious or even fatal injuries from exploding metal debris. In total, over 18 million vehicles have been recalled due to defective airbags and six deaths have been reported from airbag injuries.
Takata said that they have been cooperating with the NHTSA, but the NHTSA has accused Takata of not being truthful in handing over documents. The company is now facing a fine of $14,000 a day for not cooperating with the NHTSA. Honda is Takata's biggest customer and they have confirmed two deaths and 30 injuries from defective airbags. Some of the injuries that have been reported were extremely horrific. One airbag explosion in Florida left a young woman driver with a metal shard in her eye socket. Also in Florida, another defective airbag incident gashed a woman's throat and she bled to death. These defective airbags exploded with such force, it was just like a bomb going off. Safety advocates are voicing concern because the chemicals in the systems may have degraded which could cause the airbags to deploy unexpectedly.
Airbags Do Save Lives:
The Department of Transportation estimates that frontal airbags have saved approximately 37,000 lives between 1987 and 2012. There have been four fatalities and over 100 injuries linked to Takata airbags and all vehicles containing these airbags have been recalled. Some of the injuries were quite severe because pieces of metal penetrated the faces and necks of drivers. The number of Honda/Acura vehicles affected by the recall is 5.4 million.
Injuries from Airbags:
If an airbag is forced upwards while it is expanding, face and neck injuries can result. Chest wall injuries are common from frontal airbag deployment. Whiplash type injuries to the neck and spine are also common airbag injuries. Spine injury symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
- Neck and/or back pain
- Abrasions or burns
- Asthma attacks from inhalation of chemicals
- Hearing loss
- Eye Injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries
The injuries from a defective airbag can be as serious as injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents. These injuries occur due to defective products and the manufacturer of the products can be held liable for the damages their products cause. An airbag that is deployed properly can also cause severe injuries or death if the occupant is very close to the airbag. The NHTSA recommends that drivers sit at least ten inches away from the steering wheel.
If you have been injured by a defective airbag, please preserve the airbag and all of its' parts. In particular, the crash sensor should not be thrown away. Also, do not let your vehicle be taken to a junkyard or insurance company. To prove the defective airbag caused your injuries, you will want to keep the airbag, all of its parts and the car's computer.
Auto Accident Attorneys in Sarasota and Bradenton:
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Sarasota or Bradenton, please contact Michael L. Morgan Law Group, P.A. at (941) 218-8220. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no cost to you unless we recover on your behalf. Please call us for a free consultation.