Motor vehicle consumers, drivers and passengers have an expectation that our vehicles are safe to ride in. We often hear about roll-over tests and safety ratings. Vehicle safety requirements took a step further by requiring that vehicles be equipped with seat belts for all vehicle occupants. When it was determined that seat belts, alone, could not prevent death or serious injuries to vehicle occupants, the installation of airbags became a vehicle safety requirement.
However, at least six deaths have been determined to be linked to the defective airbags. In all, at least 17 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States, in addition to over 36 million worldwide due to defective airbags.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has determined that inflators in certain airbags were made with a propellant which may degrade over time and lead to ruptures. The Takata air bags could possibly explode resulting in shards of metal being propelled throughout the vehicle passenger compartment.