The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced
that it has identified all of the vehicles impacted by the Takata airbag
recall. The information will soon be available on the agency’s safercar.gov
website, where owners will be able to enter their VIN numbers to determine
if their car or truck is one of the nearly 34 million recalled vehicles.
“As this recall progresses, NHTSA will organize and prioritize the
replacement of the defective air bag inflators to ensure that defective
inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible,”
said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
The relatively good news, however, is tempered by updated death and injury
information from Takata. The airbag maker recently announced that eight
deaths are now linked to the defective product, which has also caused
more than 100 injuries. As we have discussed extensively on this San Diego
Injury Blog, the airbag’s propellant can explode with too much force,
causing the airbag to rupture and sending dangerous shrapnel into the vehicle.
For drivers with recalled airbags, concerns are also growing about how
quickly their vehicles will be repaired and whether the new airbags are
safe. Takata is struggling to produce enough parts and has yet to identify
what caused the defect. In addition, the company has already been forced
to perform a second fix on 400,000 previously repaired vehicles with defective airbags.
At a recent Senate Committee Hearing, lawmakers pressed Takata executives
to establish a fund to
compensate victims injured or killed by its defective airbags, which would be similar to that created by General Motors for victims
of its faulty ignition switch. They also chastised the company over a
new report that strongly suggests that Takata put profits over safety
by discontinuing global safety audits.
"This is deadly serious business," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson,
D-Fla., as he held up a piece of shrapnel from a Takata airbag that struck
a Florida woman whose severe facial injuries were displayed in a photograph
at the hearing. "For years, it's obvious that Takata did not
put safety first."
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or
defective motor vehicle, don’t hesitate to
contacta San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.