Takata’s defective airbag recall may be just beginning

This is already the largest automotive recall in the country’s history. But TIME predicts that as many as 90 million more vehicles will eventually need to be recalled to replace more of the airbags’ defective inflators.

The sad fact is, Takata allowed this crisis to develop due to “chronic” failure to maintain quality standards at its North American plants. The total number of affected vehicles may not be known for years, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Among the problems with the defective inflators is that they contain ammonium nitrate as an accelerant. Ammonium nitrate is highly volatile, and seems to be the reasons the Takata airbags have been inflating with too much force during car accidents. As a result, the airbags sometimes cause metal shards to fly into the vehicle’s interior, where they can cut into the occupants’ all-too-soft flesh.

Hopefully, any of our readers driving around in a vehicle with defective Takata airbags will get a recall notice before finding out the danger they are in the hard way. But the fact is, millions of Americans could be at risk of death or serious injury because of Takata’s negligence.

It is terrible to contemplate how many people may be in danger, but at least we know that Takata will have to compensate its victims for their injuries.