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Defective air bags still pose a deadly threat to drivers

There have been many safety innovations placed in cars over the last 50 years. From the initial demands for seat belts in cars from the 1960s, to today's collision avoidance and lane minder systems, these safety enhancements have meant your Honda or Toyota of today are "Not your father's Oldsmobile."

And part of the reason that the U.S. has seen record lows for highway deaths in the last few years has been all of these safety improvements, which both lessen the chances for a car accident, such as collision avoidance, better headlights and tires, ABS brakes, and vehicle traction control and make crashes more survivable for vehicle occupants, such as three-point seat belts, air bags and crumple zones.

In most cases, these systems perform remarkably well, but the occurrence of the Takata air bag defect sets a troubling precedent by making a safety device a danger to motorists. If your car is affected, you need to act as soon as possible.

The troubling defect was first reported in a 2004 in a Honda Accord, involves the inflator of the air bag exploding and sending metal shards at the driver. At least six drivers have died from the wounds they suffered and Honda had ordered limited recalls of selected vehicles. Last year Honda began a wider scale recall after word spread of the defect.

The importance of acting on a dangerous recall is shown by an accident from March, where a driver of a 2003 Civic received a neck wound from an inflator explosion. The driver appears to have survived this time, but failure to press your dealer for a repair on this issue is not trivial. You could be killed by the air bag if it suffers this defect.

Autonews.com, "Honda confirms Takata airbag rupture injured driver in March accident," Reuters, April 14, 2015

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