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Airbag explosions prompt massive investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expanding its investigation into airbags that rupture and cause injuries and death. Over 100 million vehicles around the world are equipped with airbags that may have a design flaw that is causing explosions. Drivers in Pennsylvania and beyond may be receiving recall notices if their vehicles carry these airbags.

At first the investigation focused on Takata inflators which expand using gas and ammonium nitrate under high pressure. However, these inflators tend to explode with such force that metal shrapnel sprays into the passenger compartments of the vehicles. So far, 13 people have died and over 100 others suffered injuries worldwide. Recently reports of explosions involving ARC inflators have caused the NHTSA to widen its probe into the causes of the malfunction.

Vehicles included in the investigation include those manufactured through 2004 by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia. The NHTSA cautions that some vehicles manufactured after that time may also carry the faulty inflators. While the designs of the Takata and ARC inflators are different, both seem to carry the same risk of rupture.

Airbags are placed in vehicles to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a collision. However, the very item that is supposed to reduce the chance of serious injury is now the cause of injury and death in hundreds of accidents across the world. People in Pennsylvania who are injured following airbag explosions often seek the advice of an attorney. A lawyer will take the necessary steps to seek possible compensation for the injury suffered by the defective product.

Source: reuters.com, "U.S. expands investigation of 8 million air bag inflators after fatal crash", David Shepardson, Aug. 4, 2016

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