It is common to see extensive media coverage on dangerous products such as toys or appliances — typically, these news stories warn against defective toys that lose small parts, or dressers that unexpectedly tip over, causing injury or death. Needless to say, many Texans become skeptical and even fearful of these products — often to an unnecessary degree. Yet one type of product liability issue that has recently been under immense spotlight is that of vehicle airbags.
While toys and appliances can certainly pose risks under defective circumstances, specific types of airbags have been a serious cause for alarm for millions of American drivers. After sifting through countless news articles on the topic, much confusion can arise. Is the issue as serious as some think, and if so, is the end of the problem in sight?
A Scary Situation
Cars are a vital part of everyday life, so it makes sense that recalls from airbag giant Takata would ignite fear among many. The New York Times acknowledges this concern, pointing out that defective airbags have killed 12 people and caused more than 180 injuries in the U.S. Millions of Takata airbags have exploded, releasing metal shards into cars. Experts have pinpointed moisture and extreme temperature changes to be the catalysts, especially among older models. However, the Times offers one small, comforting detail: not all Takata airbags are under scrutiny, as only those with ammonium-nitrate inflaters without a chemical drying agent to combat moisture are known to explode.
A Possible Solution
Consumer Reports shares that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalled over 60 million U.S. vehicles in 2014 alone. This is clearly a cause of worry, in that some manufacturers have tried to cover up these assembly mistakes in the past. However, immense media coverage and a plethora of recalls have in turn created expectations for a future of safer cars. Federal regulators have taken steps to solving this issue and thus plan to minimize the number of design defects. Needless to say, the current state of airbag recalls can be frightening, but mass media coverage and concerned consumers can in turn pave the way for a safer vehicles in the future.