The Takata airbag recall continues to grow. In early January, the bankrupt auto safety device manufacturer added another 3.3 million faulty air bag inflators to the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.
The devices cover front air bags in certain 2009, 2010 and 2013 Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler (Mercedes) vans and Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla vehicles. The automakers provided specific models in paperwork filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and notices of these expanded recalls have been posted on the NHTSA’s website.
This is the latest bad news for Takata, coming on the heels of news surrounding another death attributed to its airbags — this one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, during the summer of 2017.
Ordered in 2001 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Takata airbag recall has grown to more than 70 million inflators in more than 45 million vehicles from as many as 19 automakers.
In an accident, Takata’s defective inflators can blast shrapnel through the airbags into the passenger compartment, threatening the lives of driver and passengers. Tragically, the inflators have been linked to at least 20 deaths worldwide, 11 of which happened in the U.S. Over 200 Americans have been seriously injured. The worst part is that, in many of these instances, the airbags were deployed after minor collisions in which those injured by the airbags would normally have been able to walk away, relatively unharmed.
Many automakers have been slow to replace the potentially deadly inflators. A report by an independent monitor of the recall revealed that as of Sept. 15, 2017, 43.1 million inflators have been recalled. Of that number, only 18.5 million (43 percent) ended up being replaced during the 16+ year recall.
And to make matters worse, a recent USA Today article revealed that dangerous Takata air bags are being recycled from salvage yards and installed as “refurbished” safety equipment into used cars, according to a lawsuit filed in August 2017 in Nevada. It casts a spotlight on the often suspect world of auto parts recycling and how dangerous recalled parts end up in used cars which are then sold to unsuspecting buyers.
Selling a recalled auto part is illegal under a 2000 federal law, and NHTSA is investigating the situation. “The agency has the authority to enforce civil penalties on businesses that do not comply,” an agency spokeswoman said in a statement.
The victim in the case claims that she was driving home after work when her Accord was hit by another car; when the air bags inflated, she was injured by the shrapnel. She spent several days in a trauma center. Her voice has changed; she has a scar; and she faces more surgeries, according to one of her attorneys.
Owners of all cars subject to the Takata Airbag Recall can check to see if their cars have been recalled by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and entering in their 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN).
If you or a family member has been injured by a defective Takata inflator, please contact the Billy Johnson Injury Law Firm by calling us at 606-433-0682 or filling out our online contact form.