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Airbag defect can make safety feature spray shrapnel

Car owners in San Diego got some shocking news earlier this month when government officials declared that as many as 20 million cars on the road in the U.S. may have faulty airbag systems. Not only are the airbags potentially faulty, but they can apparently rupture and cause metal shrapnel to shoot out upon deployment after a car accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a warning to car owners affected by recent recalls to have their cars inspected and corrected as soon as possible. The scope of the problem is potentially tremendous and affects cars from most major auto makers in the U.S. today, including Toyota, BMW, Nissan, General Motors, Ford and Honda.

The problem stems in part from the presence of excessive humidity, which can lead to airbag failures over time. So far, recalls and warnings have focused primarily on areas of the country with very high humidity, which may contribute to the worsening of the problem. But other areas of the country have been affected, suggesting the problem may also be more of a design or manufacturing flaw. In one particularly frightening event, an 18-year-old in a Honda was killed when her car was merely bumped in a parking lot fender bender, but the airbag flaw sent shards of sharp metal shooting out, puncturing her neck.

It is very scary that a safety feature many drivers and passengers rely on every day can be responsible for killing people. Those who own cars affected by the recall should take immediate precautions to fix the problem, but for those who have been injured or otherwise affected by the flaw, they should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. These victims may be entitled to significant compensation from the manufacturers of these shoddy products. There may also be the potential for a class action lawsuit for people affected by these safety flaws, so people who have concerns shouldn't hesitate to contact an attorney.

Source: The Topeka Capital-Journal, "Automakers recall 5M airbags over fatal defect," Tom Krisher, Oct. 20, 2014

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