Airbags are at the center of a giant recall of more than three million vehicles, as Christopher Jensen reports for the NY Times, including Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans, and Mazdas. The driver's side airbag is "excessively powerful," as Jensen reports, which could send metal shards into the cabin in a car accident.
This recall is the latest in ongoing trouble with these airbags. Honda has apparently admitted to two deaths (and 18 injuries) from these airbags in crashes, which prompted an earlier recall in 2008.
Takata Corp. is the company that makes the airbags. Its airbags have been sold to a variety of automakers, including General Motors and BMW, along with all the Japanese automakers mentioned above.
First, a negligent driver who is speeding or texting crashes into you. Second, the airbag deploys and metal shards spray out. You can expect there to be bad drivers on the road. You don't usually expect safety devices like airbags to make things worse.
When you get into a wreck, you expect that the safety equipment on your vehicle will operate as it should, and not cause more harm than good. That doesn't appear to be the case with these airbags.