Up until last week, there had been 28.8 million airbags recalled due to
defective inflators manufactured by Takata Corp. in Japan. Last week,
an additional recall by the Department of Transportation makes the Takata
inflators subject of the largest safety recall in United States history.
An estimated 35-40 million additional airbags with Takata inflators will
be recalled between May 2016 and December 2019. The phases of the recall
will be prioritized according to the age of the inflators, exposure to
high humidity, and fluctuating high temperatures.
The decision to recall more products comes after the
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was able to confirm the root cause of the tendency of the inflators
to rupture. Over a hundred injuries and ten deaths have been caused by
ruptured inflators, which send shrapnel through the airbag into the vehicle
Independent Investigations Find Cause
Three independent investigations were reviewed by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and an independent expert. The findings
were disturbing. In airbags where the ammonium nitrate propellant was
used without a desiccant, the propellant degraded due to the passage of
time, moisture, and fluctuating high temperatures. The result is that
the propellant would burn too quickly, causing the inflator to rupture
and send shrapnel through the airbag.
current list of vehicles carrying recalled airbags is available but does not yet include
the recent addition. The NHTSA is being very clear about the science behind
the recalls, emphasizing the need for car owners to respond quickly to
have the recalled product replaced once informed. It is equally important
to ensure your car’s manufacturer has updated address and other
contact information. Though millions of recall notices have been sent
out, the families of some of those killed in airbag accidents say the
victims did not receive information about the recall.
Frustrations with Takata Run High
It appears the NHTSA may have save lives by beginning the airbag recall
immediately instead of waiting for the research to be completed. Administrators
say the most at-risk products have already been recalled thanks to NHTSA efforts.
Takata, however, has raised the ire of both industry insiders and the public.
Some say the auto parts manufacturer has been slow to respond to requests
for information and cooperation. In 2015, Takata was the recipient of
the largest-ever civil penalty imposed by the NHTSA for violations of
the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. In addition to the civil penalty, the NHTSA
appointed an Independent Monitor to ensure Takata complied with orders
and did their part with regard to the Coordinated Remedy Program. The
Coordinated Remedy Program is both process and schedule for the recall
and replacement of the faulty products.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured by an airbag? In the case of
the Takata defect, most deaths occurred in accidents where all involved
would typically have been expected to survive. Our attorneys are experienced with
car accidents and
product liability and are positioned to fight for you. If you believe a faulty airbag or
other auto part caused your injury, call us today for a FREE consultation: