Millions of faulty airbags still unfixed

Only a fraction of the tens of millions of vehicles recalled because of faulty Takata airbags have so far been fixed.

Estimates vary from 70 million vehicles fitted with the faulty airbags, to well over 100 million. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only about 7.5 million vehicles have so far been fixed.

The issue centres around the airbags’s inflator, a metal cartridge which can ignite with such explosive force it ruptures, shooting metal shards into the vehicle. It’s believed that drivers have a 50% chance of being killed or seriously injured if the defective airbag inflates in an accident, with 16 deaths reported worldwide and more than 100 serious injuries.

The latest victim was a 50-year-old woman in California, whose Takata airbag deployed following a collision in her Honda Civic at 25mph.

Takata first announced the fault in April 2013, when it said six makes were affected. However, it has since admitted that it doesn’t know which cars are fitted with the defective inflators, or what the cause of the problem is.

It’s understood 14 brands have been fitted with the Takata airbags, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Saab, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen.