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Government issues "urgent" defective products warning

In an effort to reach as many affected consumers as possible, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has posted an urgent message on its website to warn of dangers associated with defective airbags. The airbags, manufactured by Takata, are subject to a recent recall. Drivers in Hawaii who own a vehicle that contains one of these defective products are urged to take their car in to have the airbags replaced.

The airbags are inflated by means of a canister that is located in the center of the packed bag. These internal inflators can become overpressurized, which can lead to an explosion that could send metal shrapnel into the bodies of the vehicle's occupants. One woman was recently killed in an accident in which her airbag apparently deployed. She was found to have stab-like wounds on her neck, which detectives determined were consistent with airbag explosion malfunctions.

The recall affects nearly 5 million car owners. The vehicles include Mazda, BMW, Honda, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota brands. Model Years range from 2000 to 2006, and a complete listing of affected vehicles can be found on the NHTSA website. It is believed that the defect is more prevalent in areas of the nation that have high levels of heat and humidity, and drivers in such areas are urged to take immediate action to resolve the issue.

This recall is an excellent example of why consumers should ensure that their current personal contact information is stored in the database of their vehicle's manufacturer so that they can be notified in the event of a serious recall. Prevention of a serious injury is the top goal of vehicle manufacturers and the companies they subcontract. However, not every negative outcome can be prevented, and incident do occur.  For those in Hawaii who suffer an injury or the loss of a loved one due to defective products such as an exploding airbag, there are avenues of legal recourse available.  

Source: 6abc.com, "Car Owners Urged to Take 'Immediate Action' Over Airbags", Brian Ross, Oct. 20, 2014

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