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How an airbag maker's mistake could be deadly for motorcyclists

If you've been paying attention to the news like we have, chances are you're well aware of the massive airbag recall that was announced just days ago by federal regulators and Takata, a Japanese airbag manufacturer. Expected to impact some 33.8 million vehicles across 11 automakers, the recall has not only sparked panic among drivers of cars and trucks but among motorcyclists as well.

That's because the airbags being recalled are defective and incredibly dangerous. According to numerous reports, many of Takata's airbags are exploding with more force than they are supposed to, causing the inflator housing to rupture in a vehicle collision. The spray of shrapnel is incredibly dangerous to drivers and passengers alike, causing injuries for hundreds and resulting in at least six deaths.

The concern among some motorcyclists, including some here in Los Angeles, centers around the fact that Takata thinks that high humidity can have an effect on the chemicals within the inflator mechanism. Constant exposure to high humidity, the manufacturer says, could cause "the airbag propellant to break down, increasing the risks of a violent explosion." Some may wonder, could this happen even if a vehicle isn't involved in a collision? If so, could this cause an accident to occur?

When a defective automotive product puts consumers' lives in danger, manufacturers should be held accountable. In the case of Takata and its airbags, this may happen on a federal level if investigators decide to take action against the company for any negligence it may have had. The company could also be held accountable through civil litigation, if victims and their families decide to take this action down the road.

Sources: Consumer Reports, "Everything you need to know about the Takata airbag recall," May 22, 2015

Automotive News, "House panel sets hearing on Takata recalls," May 26, 2015

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