In addition to the existing recall for cars with Takata-supplied air bags, now there is a new recall–amounting to ~5 million cars–as a result of defective air bag control units supplied by Continental Automotive Systems.
When our 2008 Lincoln was totaled by a person running a stop sign the air bags did just what they were meant for. But I think if you have a vehicle with recalled airbags you should be allowed to have them turned off until they are replaced.
At least this newest recall is for the control unit, which can be replaced pretty simply and won’t shoot you with shrapnel.
On February 2, 2016 Toyota/Lexus issued a recall involving 320,000 2003 to 2006 model year SUVs and trucks for Airbag Control Module defects. This is unrelated to the Continental module recall, I believe Toyota uses Denso modules.
The subject vehicles are equipped with side Curtain-Shield-Airbags (CSAs) which deploy from the roof rails in the
event of certain types of crashes. Due to improper programing in the airbag control module, there is a possibility that,
under certain specific and limited conditions shortly after vehicle startup, the CSAs and seat belt pre-tensioners could
activate when not necessary. Unexpected activation of the CSAs could increase the risk of injury to the occupant.