In what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history,” Ford Motor Company has doubled the number of vehicles it is recalling due to the Takata airbag defect. The company joined 13 other automakers compelled to recall their vehicles. The American manufacturer has now recalled 1.9 million vehicles to replace airbags located on both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicles because they present the risk of deploying explosively and causing serious injury, or even death. Including those made by other manufacturers, the number of vehicles affected are now estimated to be 34 million in the United States, and another 7 million around the world.
The problem is found in the airbag’s inflator. This metal cartridge is designed to work with propellant wafers that are intended to inflate the airbags in the case of a crash. However, because they contain ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent, there is a risk of activation causing explosive force. When this happens, the inflator housing can rupture and send shrapnel flying into the passenger cabin, causing injury or death to the automobile occupants. Although the Ford Motor Company has not yet reported any such events, there have already been ten deaths reported in the United States as a result of the defect, and more than 100 injuries. It has been estimated that the recall could result in the replacement of nearly 78 million airbag between now and the year 2019.
The original list of vehicles that Ford had recalled included more than 600,000 Mustangs and about 400 GTs. The list has been updated to include Ford Edge and Lincoln MKS models from the years 2007 through 2010; Ford Mustangs from 2005 through 2011; Ford GTs from 2005 and 2006; Ford Rangers from 2007 through 2011; and Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln Zephyrs from 2006 through 2011. The other manufacturers that have also recalled vehicles include Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors, BMW, Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, Honda, and Volkswagen. Ford has indicated that it will be contacting owners of those vehicles affected to make arrangements for the defective products to be replaced at no cost.
Injuries that have resulted from the defective airbags have been traumatic; in some cases metal shards have flown into drivers’ neck or face. Due to the chemical cause of the propellant explosions, concerns are particularly acute in high humidity areas such as Florida.
If you have been injured by a defective airbag call the personal injury attorney at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. at 866.569.3400.