The Takata airbag scandal has been the largest automotive recall in history. The recall involves airbags where the inflator is powered by a chemical called ammonium nitrate. This can degrade over time, especially in hot and humid climates. This degradation causes the airbag to deploy with too much force, sending pieces of the housing flying through the car. This shrapnel can be deadly and has killed 24 people worldwide and injured hundreds of others. While this recall is winding down and according to some reports, 85% of all recalled airbags have been repaired, Takata now finds itself facing another recall according to the Associated Press.
The malfunction which has been recently discovered is different from the recall that has been going on for the past few years. However, the result leads to airbags that can explode and hurl shrapnel, injuring and killing people. The recall involves about 1.4 million front driver inflators.
The recall has led BMW to warn the owners of some older 3-series cars to stop driving them. A driver in Australia has been killed by the defect. Another Australian and a driver in Cyprus were injured. 116,000 BMW 3-Series cars from model years 1995-2001 are included in the recall. In addition, certain Audi, Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi vehicles made between 1995 to 2000 are also being recalled.
The airbags do not use the volatile ammonium nitrate to fill the airbags, but the chemical can still deteriorate over time, and explode too fast, sending shrapnel flying. Another possible outcome is that the airbag will not inflate enough to protect the driver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in discussions with automakers about the recalls.
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