Ford has recalled close to one million vehicles around the world to replace defective Takata airbag inflators. The Detroit Free Press reports that the vehicles have been recalled due to a risk of flying shrapnel caused by exploding airbag inflators. Takata used the chemical, ammonium nitrate, to create an explosion to inflate airbags. However, it can deteriorate over time due to heat and humidity. When the ammonium nitrate has deteriorated, it will explode with too much force and blow apart the metal canister designed to contain the explosion. Hundreds of people have been injured by the shrapnel from these airbags and at least twenty-three people have been killed worldwide.
Honda is adding 1.4 million cars, SUVs, and trucks to its list of vehicles that should have their Takata airbags replaced. Included in the airbag recall list are vehicles branded as Acura, Honda's luxury brand, according to the automaker.
On Tuesday, August 23, a truck crashed, caught fire, and exploded in the small town of Quemado near Eagle Pass, Texas. The explosion leveled the nearby home of Lucila Robles, killing her, and left debris more than two miles away. On Monday, August 29, Takata Corp., the troubled airbag manufacturer, confirmed that the truck was carrying Takata airbag inflators with their ammonium nitrate propellant. Takata has a warehouse in Eagle Pass and a factory across the border in Monclava, Mexico.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a formal engineering analysis investigation into airbags made by ARC Automotive after the company's airbags were linked to the death of a Canadian driver last month. The fatality in Canada was due to the driver's Hyundai Elantra's airbag inflator exploding as a result of a low impact collision. This death was the first known fatality in recent years from a rupture in an airbag manufactured by a supplier other than Takata. Previous non-fatal incidents involving ARC airbags in 2009 and 2014 sparked preliminary investigations into whether the airbags should be the subject of a product recall.
Some Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen vehicles from the 2016 and 2017 model years being sold are equipped with Takata airbag inflators, despite the devices being potentially defective and likely to be recalled within a few years, according to a Senate report. Takata has already agreed to recall about 69 million airbag inflators in the U.S. by the end of 2019, but these automakers can legally sell their newer model vehicles as they are not yet covered by the recall.
According to a recent editorial in the Dallas Morning News, West residents were clueless about the extreme dangers they were living next to until an April 17 explosion killed 15 and devastated a 35-block area. This was not an accident this information was never shared, but on purpose. A little-known section of Texas law allows agencies to withhold information they regard as confidential concerning the handling, storage and transportation of extremely hazardous chemicals. Not only can state agencies claim the right under the law to ensure that the public remains in the dark, they can assert the right to not even explain why they will not release data.