There has been a major announcement in the automotive industry: Takata Corporation, one of the largest airbag suppliers in the world, has admitted that up to 34 million vehicles may contain faulty airbags. While this is not the first recall that the Takata corporation has faced, this is one of the largest automotive recalls in history, affecting about one in seven vehicles on the road (1).
Takata Airbag Recall Affects Millions of Vehicles
For decades, Takata Corporation denied that their airbags were defective, even though motorists were injured and some killed by their product. The Takata airbags can explode and send shrapnel flying into the passenger’s seating area. At least six deaths and 100 injuries have been attributed to this defect thus far (1).
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said “Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective. That changes today,” (1). After mounting pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Takata Corporation has agreed to double the number of vehicles recalled.
In a statement made by Takata, the corporation said this announcement comes after a year of working with the safety agency. Takata’s chairman and chief executive, Shigehisa Takada, said “We are committed to continuing to work closely with the NHTSA and our automaker customers to do everything we can to advance the safety of drivers.” (1)
The Takata Corporation continues to dispute and challenge what causes their airbags to not perform properly (2). Many of the failed airbags that have injured motorist involve wrecks occurring in in high-humidity states, such as the southeastern United States (2). The chemical that causes the airbags to inflate, known as the inflator propellant, is an issue as it causes the airbags to explode with too much force (3). It appears that the high-humidity combined with the fluctuating temperature has degraded the inflator propellant, causing it to be more volatile than it should (2). However, the most recent recall, which covers approximately 34 million vehicles demonstrates that Takata’s problems are not just limited to areas with high humidity. Safety experts recognize that regardless of where the wreck occurs or the temperature/humidity in that area, that Takata’s airbags pose a significant risk to motorist all over the United Sates.
Takata Airbag Testing Results
The Takata Corporation has been testing airbags since September of last year, resulting in a total of 265 ruptured airbag inflators during ballistics tests of over 30,000 airbags that were retrieved from the recalled vehicles (2).
The recalled vehicles spanned across 11 automakers, including Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, BMW, and Daimler Trucks (2). Most of the model years affected are from the early to mid 2000’s (4).
What to Do if Your Car is Affected by the Takata Recall
There are currently almost 34 million cars affected by this recall, which means there is a chance your car is affected. To check if your car is included in the recall, you can enter your VIN number on the safercar.gov site.
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective Takata airbag, contact us today at Harris Lowry Manton to begin handling the claim. Our Atlanta area personal injury lawyers specialize in product liability and auto defects.
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