More than 1/3 of defective airbags remain in vehicles on our roads after the government took over the recall management of Takata airbag inflators.
It has been over three (3) years since the government assumed the task of managing recall of Takata air bag inflators. Despite the government having taken over the recall, more than one-third of the affected air bag inflators, which should have been replaced, remain in vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitors 19 automakers that are involved in the recall process. NHTSA observed that replacements of the defective airbags increased by approximately 30 percent over the last year.
How big does the airbag recall problem remain?
There are more than 16.7 million defective airbag inflators out of 50 million that have not been replaced or taken out of service at this time. Reportedly, there are 10 million more inflators are scheduled to be recalled in January 2019.
What is the Takata airbag problem that caused the recall?
The Takata airbags use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags. But inflators can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and hurling shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have been killed worldwide and hundreds injured due to the problem. The problem only gets more severe as the vehicle gets older: the airbag inflators grow more dangerous as they get older because ammonium nitrate deteriorates due to high humidity and cycles from hot temperatures to cold. The most dangerous inflators are in areas of the South along the Gulf of Mexico that have high humidity. More exposure over more time to high heat and humidity further degrades the Takata inflator's phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate compound, making it more porous, more volatile and more prone to transform from a life-saving device to a life-threatening.