Takata has announced yet another air bag recall as part of the largest automotive recalls in United States history, this time involving 2.7 million air bag inflators made between 2005 and 2012. The cars involved are Ford, Nissan, and Mazda sold in the U.S. Some 42,000,000 vehicles are affected by the Takata air bag recalls as of January 19, 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Reason for Current Recall
This most recent air bag inflator recall is triggered by test results that are foreseeing future air bag explosions, said the NHTSA in a statement. Takata reported that it is not aware of any ruptures having taken place, but is issuing the recall out of “an abundance of caution,” notes the NHTSA. This recall concerns the earliest generation of Takata airbag inflators, which use calcium sulfate as a desiccant (drying agent), and were put in driver-side airbags installed in vehicles sold by Mazda North American Operations, Nissan North America Inc., and Ford Motor Co., reports the NHTSA.
In March 2017, Takata agreed to pay $1 billion to settle multidistrict (MDL) litigation alleging the airbag manufacturer was aware of the fatal defect with its airbags, but sold them despite having that information. An MDL is frequently created to consolidate similar complaints into a trial in one court before one judge to streamline the process and make it more efficient.
Takata Files for Bankruptcy
A minimum of 11 deaths have been linked to the faulty airbags, which can explode due to a design defect. In June, Takata filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has years of experience and success representing clients in personal injury and product liability litigation. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for any individuals seeking legal information for potential lawsuits.
Takata and Nissan started in March 2016, recovering and evaluating vehicles with the inflators. Following them, Ford agreed to a comparable project a few months later, in June. Subsequently, the inflators have been tested and Takata made the decision that although none of them had exploded, they still pose a risk of exploding, with the potential of being fatal. Mazda has yet to test the inflators installed in their vehicles, the NHTSA notes.
At the beginning of July of this year, Mazda states that approximately 6,000 B-Series trucks from model years 2007-2009 sold in the U.S. are affected by the recall. Mazda is unaware of any incidents linked to the inflators in these vehicles.
The potentially faulty Takata inflators were installed on almost 515,000 Nissan Versas sold in the U.S., in model years 2007-2012. No known incidents have occurred with the inflators in these vehicles, as well. Ford has allegedly said it is aware of Takata’s plan and remains in contact with the NHTSA concerning this ongoing issue.
Early Takata Air Bag Tests
Engineers at Takata initially noticed problems with the chemical mix used in its airbags more than ten years ago, according to a report by CNN. The defect concerns aspirin-sized ammonium nitrate tablets, that are placed in a metal canister inside the airbag. The nitrate tablets are made to produce a gas that inflates the bag. But, extreme temperatures can destabilize the ammonium nitrate, which causes the metal canister to explode, according to patent application documents Takata filed.
Older-model cars have airbag inflators that may rupture which could cause the airbags to potentially not work properly in an accident. Shards from the broken airbag system could fly out and cause serious injury. In December 2015, a South Carolina driver was killed when a Takata airbag inflator exploded. The vehicle was a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup, reports USA Today.
Honda issued a recall in 2008, when its airbags opened with force so excessive that metal parts of the airbag assembly could blast through the airbag, injuring a passenger in contact with the device. In May 2011, the Honda airbag recall expanded to 833,000 vehicles that may have been outfitted with a defective airbag.
In addition, Hyundai issued a recall for Elantra 2007-2009 sedans for an airbag system sensor that could cause the airbags to malfunction. The problem is an increased risk of injury to smaller passengers such as women, children, and the elderly, in the event of a crash.
Legal Information and Advice Concerning Defective Airbags
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective airbag, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact the personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).