What defects cause some airbags to be unsafe products?

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There seems to be much confusion in Tennessee and other states about the reasons why the airbags installed in millions of cars are defective and why the recalls cover only some areas. Why are the airbags regarded as unsafe products in areas with high humidity, and are they safe in other areas? Understanding the cause of the airbags exploding may provide some clarity.

While in excess of 12 million cars and trucks have been recalled worldwide, it is estimated that there could be about 25 million vehicles with defective airbags on the nation’s roads. In order to replace the airbags in the high-risk areas first, recalls have been concentrated on areas with continuous high humidity. Authorities say that there are already a shortage of replacement airbags, and recalling all the cars will make it impossible to attend to the most urgent cases.

Metal canisters that inflate the airbags on impact when an accident occurs are apparently affected by high humidity. This leads to the bags being inflated by excessive force that causes the airbags to explode. The explosion shatters the canisters, shooting sharp-edged pieces of debris into the car, often causing severe or even fatal injuries. Although high humidity areas have been determined to be at the highest risk, there is no guarantee that a similar explosion will not occur in other areas. In short — all occupants of vehicles fitted with the particular brand of airbags are in danger.

Tennessee motorists or their passengers who have suffered personal injuries as a result of defective or unsafe products may choose to pursue recovery of damages. However, legal action against large corporations may be daunting, and many victims find the experience of a products liability attorney to be invaluable. Such a professional has the resources to launch a thorough investigation and build a strong case to file a civil court claim. Successful presentation may lead to full and fair compensation for medical expenses, along with additional damages as allowed by appropriate state laws.

Source: CBS Detroit, “What You Need To Know About Massive Air Bag Recall“, Oct. 25, 2014