The history of automobile airbags dates to the early 1950s when the first patent applications were submitted by inventors John Hedrik, an American, and by Walter Linderer, a German. However, the first reliable airbag was developed by Allen Breed which included a “sensor system” in 1968, resulting in the world’s first electromechanical automotive airbag system.
While some argue against the use of airbags, citing their potential to produce injury and even death when deployed, statistical data from crash testing, actual automobile crashes, and independent studies by the Department of Transportation and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, definitively prove that airbags save lives. These organization’s data, compiled over more than two decades, show that less than 300 airbag-induced deaths have occurred, while roughly 27,000 lives have been saved.
Takata Airbag Safety Recall
If you own a Toyota, Scion, or Lexus vehicle manufactured between 2003 and 2013 that is equipped with a Takata Front Passenger Airbag Inflator or Takata Driver’s Airbag Inflator, your vehicle may be subject to a Safety Recall. The purpose being that when airbags in these vehicles deploy, the inflator can explode and propel metal fragments outward in the direction of the vehicle occupants, with the potential to injury or cause death. It has been determined that time, temperature, and humidity contribute to significant propellant degradation that can lead to an unreasonable risk of inflator explosion.
Based on these cause-effect climate variables and impact on degradation, the actual recall is occurring in phases based on geographical zones and specific vehicles affected based in model and year made.
- Zone A: Includes states and US territories with high temperature cycling and humidity. Time in service until significant propellant degradation may occur is projected at between 6-9 years.
- Zone B: Includes states with moderate temperature cycling and humidity. Time in service until significant propellant degradation may occur is projected at between 10-15 years.
- Zone C: Includes states with lower temperature cycling and humidity. Time in service until significant propellant degradation may occur is projected at between 15-20 years.
The Safety Recall Process
If your vehicle is subject to this safety recall the front passenger airbag will be replaced at no charge to you at an authorized Toyota Dealer for Toyota and Scion models, or at an authorized Lexus dealer for the Lexus model involved.
The process is free to you and the time in which it takes to replace the airbag is approximately an hour. During this time, a free of charge loaner vehicle is available to you.
What You Need to Do
To assist vehicle owners, Toyota has established a website that walks you through the process to determine if your vehicle is subject to the Safety Recall. It also provides the necessary information to help determine if your vehicle’s recall phase is currently underway or planned for a future date. Specific information you will need for the process is your vehicle’s license plate number/VIN or your vehicle’s model year. That website is: https://www.toyota.com/recall/takata
They have also set up a phone line to speak with an agent and even schedule an appointment for your vehicle’s repair. That number is: (888)324-3502.
Defective airbags can cause serious injury or even death. Now is the time to investigate if your vehicle is subject to the Safety Recall and act to protect yourself and your family.