Equipment that is intended to keep us safe is now the subject of the country’s
largest auto recall. Takata recently announced it was expanding its recall
to nearly 34 million vehicles. According to CNN, the airbag recall now
impacts nearly one out of every seven cars on the road.
“Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags
are defective,” said Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary.
“That changes today.”
Air bags are designed to reduce the risk that an occupant’s upper
body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during a crash.
They are credited with saving 25,782 lives between 1987 and 2008, according
to statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
However, as air bags become standard safety features in our vehicles,
they are also increasingly subject to product recalls.
The defective Takata airbags are particularly dangerous because they can
rupture and propel metal parts into the vehicle. They have killed at least
six people and injured many others. In one incident, debris from a defective
airbag struck a driver in the eye, resulting in vision loss and serious
facial lacerations. In another case, an 18-year-old girl died after shrapnel
from an exploding airbag struck her carotid artery.
In June, the NHTSA launched a new probe into the defective airbags. While
exposure to hot, humid conditions over extended periods of time was suspected
to have caused the problems, the NHTSA’s investigation prompted
the agency to call for a wider recall.
In March, the NHTSA announced that Takata would be fined $14,000 per day
for failing to fully cooperate with the agency’s investigation.
According to the regulator, Takata has failed to comply with several orders
requesting information and documents related to airbags. The NHTSA also
ordered Takata to keep all defective airbag inflators that are removed
during the recall process. The order is intended to preserve the evidence
for both the NHTSA’s investigation and
private product liability lawsuits.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or
defective vehicle, don’t hesitate to
contacta San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.