Defective Takata airbags, which caused one of the biggest automotive recalls in history, were linked to 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Exploding on impact, the defective airbags sent metal shrapnel flying throughout the car and at its occupants. But, until now, no one really understood why. Scientists say they now have the answer.
A Multi-Faceted Problem
According to NPR, ten automobile manufacturing companies banded together and hired a team of rocket scientists so they could better understand what exactly had caused the airbag problems. What they found was not just one contributing factor, but several. Exposure to humidity, problems with both the manufacturing and design, and the use of a volatile chemical known as ammonium nitrate are all to blame, the scientists say.
New Information Poses Question Over More Widespread Recalls
To date, around 29 million vehicles with the defective airbags have been recalled. The federal government has been conducting their own investigation to determine whether or not those recalls should be extended to include a total of 90 million recalls; in light of this new information, and considering the damage that the defective airbags have already done, a more widespread recall seems like the responsible move.
Every Injury and Death Should be Compensated
According to the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation, Takata did not just simply manufacture and distribute a defective product by accident. Already fined $200 million, internal documents allegedly show that not only did they fake data on their safety tests, but they also continued to do so, even after safety recalls on their airbags began. At the very least, this shows a failure of integrity and a broken safety system. At worst, it suggests that the company placed human lives on the line, possibly to avoid damaging their bottom line.
Needless to say, actions and decisions that allegedly took place are unacceptable. Human lives should never be weighed against a company's bottom line, and intentionally hiding or altering information that could put them at risk should have serious penalties. At a bare minimum, those that have been killed or injured should receive fair compensation for the damage the company has caused.
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