Legal loophole allows faulty air bags back into salvage vehicles

We haven’t heard very much in recent months about the federal government’s largest auto product recall in history. It wasn’t all that long ago that nearly every major news outlet had at least one headline offering up the latest bad news regarding Takata air bags. Age and the environment have not proven kind to certain models of these crash safety devices. As a result, many of them have come to be deadly defective products.

Unless you have been on another planet, chances are you are aware of the issue we’re talking about. It’s not just a Connecticut problem. It’s national in scope. At last word, some 69 million of the bags are under government recall because of faulty inflation systems. Chemical propellants in the bags have been found to become so unstable over time that they ignite with so much force that canister shrapnel enters the passenger compartments of vehicles. At least 16 deaths and 180 injuries have been attributed to the defect.

Now there is a new concern. According to attorneys for a young woman in Nevada, air bags that are subject to recall are finding their way into the used car market. Vehicles already involved in serious crashes get rebuilt with salvaged devices and resold.

In the case of the Nevada woman, it nearly meant her death. Last month, she was driving the used 2002 Honda Accord her father had purchased for her and suffered what’s described as a minor crash. The air bag exploded and shrapnel punctured the woman’s throat. It damaged her vocal cords and she reportedly faces more medical treatments and speech therapy.

Takata is currently facing an uphill climb trying to provide replacements for all the air bags that are under recall. As this story shows there are many more devices out there that are under the radar and the worst thing is that there are no known laws at the state or federal level preventing the use of recalled devices sold through salvage yards.

Just because there is no law against such practices doesn’t mean liability can’t be assigned. If you are injured in a crash due to faulty safety equipment, contact an attorney to learn your rights and options.