Takata Will Double its Recall of Defective Airbags
The number of defective Takata airbags that pose the risk of rupturing and seriously injuring vehicle occupants is more than doubling, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced. According to news reports, the original recall was for 28.8 million airbags, but the new recall totals more than 60 million. Even without this recall expansion, the Takata airbag recall was the largest in U.S. history.
Why Has the Recall Been Expanded?
This decision to expand the recall comes after NHTSA’s confirmation of the cause behind the inflators’ tendency to rupture. So far, 10 people have died and more than 100 have been injured in the U.S. as a result of these defective airbags. The problem with these airbags was that they exploded with a lot of force and sent shards of metal into the passenger compartment, which severely injured or even killed people.
NHTSA has zeroed in on the problem – the chemical ammonium nitrate commonly used in fertilizers is the propellant in these airbag inflators. Investigators say this is the chemical that is causing the Takata airbags to deploy with too much force and rupture. So, all Takata ammonium nitrate-based propellant driver and passenger frontal airbag inflators without a chemical drying agent will be recalled.
Serious Concern about Consumer Safety
With this expanded recall, many are worried about the safety of people who are currently driving around in these vehicles or renting them. Takata has already been criticized for the glacial pace at which it has been moving to fix previously recalled vehicles. In addition to recalling these vehicles, a thorough effort must be made to ensure that people’s cars are fixed as quickly as possible.
The number of injuries and fatalities is bound to increase if repairs are not made promptly and a major effort is not launched by the government and Takata to make people aware of these dangerous defects and the recall. Last year, NHTSA imposed the largest civil penalty in its history for Takata’s failure to repair recalled vehicles promptly. However, we still have millions of vehicles with defective airbag inflators out on the street.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a faulty Takata airbag inflator, it is important that you contact an experienced California auto product liability attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.