The Takata airbag issue is once again rearing its ugly head, this time with the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500. The NHTSA is issuing a critical “DO NOT DRIVE” alert for these vehicles, noting they were recalled in 2015.
However, roughly 84,000 vehicles remain unrepaired, and the NHTSA states that anyone driving an unrepaired Dodge Ram is “at grave risk of serious injury or death.” The organization has confirmed another Takata airbag fatality, “the first due to an exploding passenger-side inflator. The incident is also the first in a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, which was one of the 385,686 recalled in 2015.” This brings the total number of Takata airbag fatalities in the United States to 26.
NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson says, “The older a defective Takata air bag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Please, get your air bag replaced now for your sake, and for the sake of those who love you. Don’t put yourself or someone you love at risk of dying or being seriously injured because of a defective, recalled Takata air bag. These repairs are absolutely free and could save your life.”
About the Takata airbag recall
Approximately 67 million Takata air bags have been recalled over the past several years, as the airbags can explode when deployed, causing serious injury or death. Per the NHTSA, “Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to explode when deployed.” These recalls include vehicles by 19 different car manufacturers and were installed in cars made mostly between 2002 and 2015.
NHTSA analyzed the reason the air bags ignite with such explosive force. The air bag’s inflator used a chemical propellant that did not have a proper drying agent. High temperatures, moisture, and the age of the air bag are contributing factors, too. When the air bag improperly ruptures or inflates, metal from the air bag can spray into the vehicle, causing severe injury and death. The sudden explosion of the air bag can also cause an occupant to be thrown about the car.
It is crucial you check your vehicle
If you have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500s, do not drive it until you have had your air bags repaired or replaced per recall instructions.
Per the NHTSA, “Even minor crashes can result in exploding Takata air bags that can kill or produce life-altering, gruesome injuries. Older model year vehicles put their occupants at higher risk, as the age of the air bag is one of the contributing factors.”
To check for recalls:
- Use NHTSA’s Recalls Lookup Tool to check your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for any open safety recalls, including the urgent Takata recall.
- Download the SaferCar app and let it check automatically for you.
- If your vehicle does have a safety recall, call your automaker’s local dealer to schedule the free recall repair.
- Sign up at NHTSA.gov/Alerts to be notified by email if your vehicle is affected by a future recall.
Auto defect claims based on the Takata air bag defect
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our auto defect attorneys understand how to bring product liability claims related to the Takata air bag issues. We understand how auto recalls work and how to hold the right people responsible when you or a loved one suffers injuries or losses.
Auto defect claims typically encompass the following aspects:
- Product liability claim. In this type of claim, we assert that a manufacturer, such as Takata, has either improperly designed or produced air bags with defects. Our goal is to demonstrate that the injuries or fatalities to the driver or passengers were directly caused by the defect, such as airbags exploding or malfunctioning. It is not necessary to prove negligence or the manufacturer’s awareness of the defect.
- Breach of warranty claim. This claim is based on the premise that every car and its installed components should meet specific safety standards. When vehicles have faulty products like air bags that explode when they shouldn’t, they generally fail to meet these safety standards.
- Negligence. This theory argues that Takata neglected to take the necessary measures, following industry standards, to plan, design, implement, and test their air bags before prioritizing their profits. By failing to fulfill these obligations, they can be held responsible for their actions.
- Punitive damages. This claim emphasizes that if a parts manufacturer was aware or reasonably aware of the defects in their product and neglected to address the issue, they can be held accountable for this severe wrongdoing.
Auto defect cases often result in fatalities or catastrophic injuries, necessitating lifelong care and forever altering the lives of survivors. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, vision loss, and paralysis are just a few examples of the potential consequences when cars and trucks fail to perform as expected.
Harris Lowry Manton LLP fights for Takata air bag injury victims in Savannah, Atlanta, and across Georgia. To schedule a free consultation with an injury attorney from our firm, please call us or fill out our contact form.
Steve Lowry is an award-winning litigator who has secured record-setting jury verdicts on behalf of his clients. A passionate advocate for individuals who have been harmed by the actions of others, Steve has won numerous top 10 verdicts in Georgia.
Read more about Stephen G. Lowry here.