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Do Not Expect All New Car Airbags to be Free of Defects

September 14, 2016 | Category: Car Accidents, Personal Injury

Each Los Angeles car accident lawyer at our firm has touted the importance of airbags for a long time, and we will continue to do so. Consumers need to know that it has been years since the first announcements of airbag recalls began. Even though the Takata airbag recall recently earned the dubious honor of being the largest in U.S. history, however, many auto manufacturers continue to install these defective devices in new car models.

Every car owner needs to understand how the massive recalls actually work — and how to take a proactive approach to help remain safe from injury caused by defective safety devices.

Senate Report: Airbag Recall Completion Rates Are Unacceptably Low

Consumers cannot feel safe when they know that the airbags designed to protect them can explode with significant force and strike vehicle occupants with shrapnel. Yet, in spite of many active recalls, a June, 2016 Office of Oversight and Investigations Minority Staff Report, cites the recall completion rates across automakers as unacceptably low, ranging from .04 percent to 39.5 percent. The report provides a number of possible explanations, such as the following:

  • The inability to contact car owners who have moved without properly updating address information
  • Locating older vehicles that have been sold one or more times since original purchase
  • Recall delays caused by parts unavailability

Surprisingly, even completed recalls are likely to be temporary in nature at best because the airbags are being replaced with new airbags of the same basic design — and the same basic problem. Since the problem typically worsens as the airbags get older, owners can reduce their risks with newer airbags, but they should expect the need to replace the replacements in the future.

Buying New Cars Does Not Guarantee Safety

The report goes on to explain that, since the latest recall carries a deadline date at the end of 2018, four auto manufacturers continue to build new vehicles equipped with defective airbags. Again, the risks increase over time, but consumers should recognize the need to check for recalls, particularly if they move from their original addresses or otherwise become difficult to locate.

The defective airbags can cause severe injuries and have caused fatalities as well. Unless car owners already know absolutely that their cars are equipped with safer versions, they should check online for recalls. In fact, it makes sense to get in touch with local dealerships and retain detailed notes on the information they provide.

Just as important, recognize that the lack of a recall notice or a recall that is not immediately effective should not reduce the rights of injury victims to pursue compensation. When an airbag causes injuries or fatalities, it costs nothing to schedule a free initial consultation to learn about all available legal options. Call us at (844) 478-3626 / (844) 4RUDMAN, at our Los Angeles office at (213) 375-3777 or at our Studio City office (818) 769-6969.

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