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Takata air bags: the alarming wrongful death saga continues

Pretty much anyone in Colorado or nationally with a driver's license and a car has paid more than scant attention in recent years to discussions and news items relating to air bags made by the Japanese manufacturer Takata Corporation.

And the reason for that is simple: they have exploded with deadly force, in an appallingly high number of instances. Wrongful death cases alleging faulty air bag have been filed in the United States and across the globe, and legitimate fears regarding the flatly dangerous products have spurred the largest automotive safety recall ever announced in the U.S.

Reportedly, 16 people -- and perhaps even more -- have died following explosions inside Takata bags that result when chemicals deteriorate and blow apart, propelling shrapnel at motorists' faces and bodies. And many scores of drivers and passengers have suffered serious, though not fatal, injuries. An astounding 69 million bag inflators have been recalled domestically.

As noted in a recent article in the national insurance publication Claims Journal, a dire problem persists concerning bag safety, despite the known dangers and recall in progress, namely this: apparently, no state or federal law makes it illegal for salvage shops or other entities to remove faulty bags under recall and resell them to repair shops "that may not even know the danger."

That outcome, reports the Journal, recently resulted in a Takata inflator improperly exploding and sending shrapnel into the face and neck of driver involved in a minor crash. Her family had no idea that the car had a problematic history when they bought it and that a recalled Takata air bag had somehow found its way from an earlier Honda model into their salvaged vehicle.

The high number of recalled bags not yet removed or repaired is obviously a major safety concern on roads across the country. And the practice of removing recalled bags and reinstalling them in other cars without drivers' knowledge unquestionably adds to the significant risks that already exist.

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