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Takata Airbags Now Subject to Largest U.S. Recall

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.