At the start of this week, on Tuesday May 19th, Takata Corporation, a Japanese auto parts manufacturer and supplier,
recalled 34 million vehicles due to defective airbags. This recall, the
largest one in American automotive history, stems from a long account
of suspicions about Takata's products which began in the early 2000s
by some of Takata's employees and the US government. The ten automakers
that use Takata as a supplier, including Honda, Chrysler, Nissan and Ford,
are beginning to recall vehicles that have the defective airbags.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agency began to investigate Takata when a few consumers reported
violent airbag explosions after involvement in a car accident. In the
situations reported, airbags exploded and sent shrapnel, or metal pieces
and debris, flying out toward the passenger seats of vehicles. As one
can imagine, this is very dangerous and can cause serious injuries. So
far there have been six deaths and more than 100 injuries stemming from
the defective airbags.
More disturbing than the accidents is the fact that up to this point Takata
has been uncooperative and has denied having product issues. Although
the NHTSA has had suspicions about potential quality defects in Takata
products for a few years already, the agency was unable to gather enough
evidence in 2009 to continue with a case that was six months in the making.
After years of government pressure, recent fines, and increasing automobile
recalls of automobiles containing their products, Takata made a statement
admitting that their airbags have defaults and that any automobile containing
one will be recalled.
As of now Takata is unsure of what is causing the air bag explosions, but
possible factors include an airbag or airbag component design flaw, leaks
in the inflators, or the potentially harmful propellant used in the inflators.
Going forward, Takata is looking into these possibilities to find the
source of the air bag explosions. Furthermore, it is working with the
automotive companies to identify the specific models of cars affected
by the recall. Find more information about this news story on the
New York Times website.
One in seven cars will be affected by the Takata airbag recall. It is important
to know what next steps you should take:
Go to the
website set up by the NHTSA and look through the list of already-recalled vehicles.
Enter your vehicle identification number, or VIN, on the website to see
if your vehicle is part of the recall. The VIN is located on your registration
or on a plate on the dashboard visible through the windshield of your
car. If your vehicle is not listed, you should check back over the next
few weeks for new vehicles that have been added to the list.
- If you find that your vehicle is part of the recall, you should contact
your car dealership or one that has your model of car so that you may
order a replacement air bag. If you have a discontinued car brand, contact
the prospective automotive company. The airbags will be replaced with
no cost to the owner.
- Wait patiently and take precautions. There are now 34 million replacement
airbags on hand, and the first available ones will go to older cars and
cars in humid climates, since both of these factors increase the risk
of airbag explosions. The safest thing to do for the next few months is
to continue to drive the car with the airbag safety mechanism turned on-disabling
an airbag is more dangerous than driving with a defective one. Drive carefully
and cautiously in order to decrease the risk of a car accident.
Although following these steps is important, no individual person can prevent
an airbag explosion. If you or a family member has been seriously injured
in a car accident involving an airbag explosion, regardless of if you
suspect your airbag is part of the Takata recall, contact the Detroit
lawyers at Goodman Acker P.C. to discuss your case and get the expert
help you need. At Goodman Acker P.C., our attorneys specialize in helping
victims injured in airbag explosions caused by a defect.
If you or your loved one has a question regarding airbag explosion injuries,
call Goodman Acker P.C. today at (248) 793-2010. Our expert attorneys
will be happy to help you and answer any questions that you may have for
free and under no obligation. Furthermore, we represent our clients under
a no-win, no-fee promise, which means no legal fees or costs until we
win or settle your claim.