Is my airbag safe? Car drivers in Thailand urged to check for Takata airbags

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Car drivers in Thailand are being urged to check the airbags in their vehicles after three people were killed and another seriously injured due to faulty airbags from the Takata Corporation.

The issue with the airbags from the now-defunct Japanese automotive parts company Takata dates back to 2008 and has resulted in the recall of more than 100 million vehicles globally.

To date there have been at least 27 known fatalities linked to the faulty airbags.

Initially, Takata denied there was a problem with its airbags before later admitting that the ammonium nitrate used during manufacturing caused too much pressure and made the bags explode.

The fault means that if the inflator in the airbag ruptures in a crash, metal shards from its housing system can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin.

Takata has since had to pay out over US$850 million in compensation to different car brands and went bankrupt in 2017.

In October, Asst. Prof. Dr. Smith Srisont, chief of the forensic laboratory in the Department of Pathology, stated that there are currently three cases in Thailand linked to Takata airbag fault, two of which resulted in fatalities while the other resulted in serious and life changing injuries.

Dr. Smith said that the autopsies of the two deceased confirmed that their deaths were caused after being struck from parts of the airbags. The third case involves metal fragments from an airbag flying into the jaw and face of the victim, resulting in them losing their sight, as well as their hearing in their right ear.

In Thailand, over 1.7 million cars from eight brands including Honda, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Chevrolet, and Ford, use Takata airbags.

Affected vehicles include Chevrolet (2007-2015), BMW (1998-2018), Ford (1998-2014), Honda (1998-2014), Mazda (2004-2014), Mitsubishi (2005-2015), Nissan (2000-2014) and Toyota (2001-2014).

The Thai Automotive Industry Association revealed recently that it has been recalling cars with the issue since 2009. However, according to a recent survey, over 680,000 cars in Thailand are still thought to contain the deadly Takata airbags.

Meanwhile, the Thailand Consumers Council has issued a warning to automakers to recall vehicles that contain the airbags.

The Thailand Consumers Council said drivers can check to see if their car contains Takata airbags by visiting www.checkairbag.com or by calling the Department of Land Transport’s hotline on 1584.

Drivers can also contact the call centre of their respective car manufacturer.

Any replacement airbags are free of charge.

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