Takata Air Bags: Life-saving Devices that could Kill You.The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently updated consumers about the progress of the Takata Air Bag recall. The NHTSA began this enormous recall effort in November of 2015 and to this date, not every defective Takata airbag inflator recalled has been replaced. While the NHTSA continues to push its Herculean attempt to repair and replace the faulty parts, people are unwittingly driving in automobiles they thought were safer because of airbag technology. Many people are at risk of death or serious bodily injury from the failure of a defective airbag to inflate.
Parker Waichman LLP, a national lawfirm based in New York, is committed to seeking justice for those injured or killed because of another’s careless, negligence, or indifference. Many companies, like Takata, place profits above safety. Parker Waichman’s Takata airbag attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to hold Takata and auto manufacturers liable for their negligence. If you or a loved one was injured or killed because of a Takata airbag, do not delay. The time to file a claim is limited.
The Danger Presented by Takata Airbags
According to the NHTSA, the agency recalled over 34 million vehicles in the United States due to the faulty airbags. The NHTSA determined that 46 million airbags must be recalled and replaced. The NHTSA found that the Takata airbags could explode when deployed. The explosion could injure or kill the occupant the airbag was supposed to protect.
In many high-speed or head-on collisions, the death or substantial injury to a vehicle occupant might be expected. However, in lower speed crashes, survivability is anticipated if the occupants wear seatbelts and airbags deploy as designed. Manufacturers program airbags to inflate when a vehicle strikes another object in a front-facing or near front-facing collision. The airbags inflate within fractions of a second and, hopefully, prevent the driver or passenger from hitting his or her head on the dashboard, windshield, pillars, and steering wheel. Airbags are not a guarantee that the occupant will survive the crash. Instead, airbags are another layer of protection from the potential harm a car crash might inflict by cushioning the occupants of the vehicle.
Takata’s airbags have caused more harm than good. As of November 2015, the NHTSA calculated that 13 people were killed and more than 100 suffered severe injuries from the exploding Takata airbags. Essentially, the Takata airbags act like a “grenade” going off in the car. Reports of incidents regarding the defective airbags indicate that the faulty airbags would explode in the face of the victim. Those killed suffered grievous injuries to the head, neck, face, and spine. People died from massive trauma to those regions, decapitation, or fatal blood loss after the airbags exploded. Twelve of the thirteen killed were in anolder model Honda Accords or Civics. The other was driving an older model Ford Ranger pickup truck. The last death attributed to Takata airbags to date occurred in July of 2017.
Those who survived the explosion suffered horrific injuries. One victim was maimed when shrapnel from the exploding canister impaled her right eye. The passenger in the car suffered only bumps and bruises in the crash. This incident perfectly exemplifies how hazardous a defective airbag can be to a person involving in even a minor car crash.
Takata informed the NHTSA that it was investigating claims that their airbags injured and killed people involved in car crashes. Specifically, the company notified the NHTSA, pursuant to U.S. law, that the ammonium nitrate components Takata used to inflate the airbags would deteriorate over time, especially in high humidity climates. The deterioration would cause airbags to inflate more rapidly than designed, resulting in metal components to break away from the inflation system, pass through the airbag, and impale the occupants.
The airbag inflation system is locatedin the steering wheel of a car and various locations in the dashboard where airbags are housed. The inflator is a steel canister. A spark ignites the gasses contained within the canister and inflates the airbag.
The NHTSA formulated a severe response to Takata’s investigation. The NHTSA stated that Takata used deficient parts for its airbag inflators for a lengthyperiod of time. The NHTSA went as far as to say that Takata’s executives knew about the problem but still refused to admit that it manufactured defective airbags. Moreover, Takata continued to use the faulty products despite the increased the danger to the motoring public in the United States. The NHTSA claimed the Takata’s slow response to recalling its airbags raised the potential threat to motorists. Additionally, the NHTSA contended that the Takata’s delay in recalling the faulty equipment caused the recall effort to be one of the most complicated in history.
The NHTSA, armed with authority conferred by U.S. law, substantially penalized Takata. The NHTSA imposed a fine of $200 million on Takata. $70 million was due in cash, and the remainder would be payable if Takata refuses or fails to comply with the NHTSA consent order or the NHTSA discovered additional violations of U.S. law.Also, the NHTSA ordered Takata to remove the defective products from the market by phasing the ammonium nitrate inflators out of their manufacturing process and with a recall initiative.
The NHTSA, Takata, and 12 motor vehicle manufacturers coordinated the massive recall effort of 19 million cars and 23 million faulty inflators. The agency ordered Takata to accelerate the recall process as part of its punishment for violating U.S. law. The NHTSA will conduct oversight of the project along with a third-party who will work jointly with the NHTSA on monitoring.The NHTSA has amended its coordinated recall notice five times since the order was issued in November of 2015.
The NHTSA’s coordinated recall established phases in which vehicles should receive repairs. The NHTSA ordered the vehicles with the highest risk to be repaired first. The agency also sought the cooperation of car dealers and manufacturers to undertake efforts to replace as many Takata inflators as possible. The initiative included creating a huge public awareness campaign. Disseminating information about the faulty airbags would be very difficult. Therefore, the NHTSA asked for cooperation distributing information to consumers so that could take action to correct the danger lurking in people’s dashboards. You should contact your auto dealer, visit your vehicle manufacturer’s website, or visit NHTSA’s Takata website to determine if the car you are driving is subject to this recall.
The NHTSA issued an update on the progress of the Takata recall in mid-November of 2017. The recall expanded to include another 13 vehicle manufacturers and an additional 4 million autosand doubling the number of faulty inflators. Those adjusted figures raised the total to 19 vehicle manufacturers, 46 million defective parts, and 23 million vehicles, respectively. The NHTSA has not reached its goal of replacing every broken part. That goal is laudable but might not be achieved given how often cars change hands. Notwithstanding, the seemingly insurmountable task it faces, the NHTSA has ordered an additional recall to be completed by 2019. This further action will bring the total number of vehiclesrecalled due to Takata’s negligence to almost 70 million cars, truck, vans, and SUVs.
Representation of Your Defective Takata Airbag Claim
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm who stakes its reputation on finding justice for victims of Takata airbag defects.Call Parker Waichman LLP for scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim, or more convenient you can fill out our online form. Time is of the essence, and any delay in contacting us could cause you to give up your rights forever. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with one of our defective Takata airbag lawyers about your rights.