After years of denying there was a problem, Takata recently changed course
and declared that 34 million units of its
air bags are defective.
With the announcement, Takata is now responsible for the largest automotive
recall in U.S. history. Ten automakers are affected, including Honda,
BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota.
Certain Takata air bags have a defect that causes them to deploy with too
much force, causing metal shards to spray into the cabin of the affected
vehicles. The flaw has already been linked to six deaths and more than
100 injuries worldwide, according to U.S. regulators.
statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that
investigators have not yet been able to identify a root cause of the problem.
They suspect that moisture is seeping into the defective air bag inflators,
causing the chemical propellant inside to break down over extended periods
of time and to ignite too quickly when a crash occurs. That is why replacement
parts have first been sent to high-humidity regions of the U.S., particularly
in states along the Gulf Coast such as Florida.
New Data from Takata Tests Shows Importance of Expanded Recall
Takata has also provided NHTSA with some results of its testing of more
than 30,800 inflators pulled from recalled vehicles.
Automotive News, defect reports showed that 265 of Takata's air bag inflators have
ruptured during ballistic tests conducted since September. Most of those
ruptures occurred in high-humidity states and outlying U.S. territories.
However, five occurred outside of that area in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Kentucky
and Illinois. Two of those vehicles were once registered in Florida and Texas.
Takata also reported knowledge of 84 incidents where ruptures occurred
in vehicles on the road. Disturbingly, 15 of those events occurred in
vehicles that were not a part of the existing recall, making the expanded
recall a critical step in saving lives.
The company identified other possible factors that could contribute to
the inflators' flaws, including vehicle design and "manufacturing
variability," one defect report said.
What to Do If Your Car Has Takata Air Bags
In the coming weeks and months, automakers will scramble to determine which
models are impacted by the sweeping recall and provide that information
to the NHTSA and consumers. In the meantime, there are things you can
do to stay informed about whether your car is included in the recall.
Use the NHTSA's
VIN-number search tool to see any open recalls on your vehicle. Keep in mind that you will need
to check periodically to see if your car is subject to the Takata recall.
Due to the massive scope of the problem, it will take automakers time
to identify every vehicle that could have the defective part.
- Heed any recall notices that come to you by mail. You may also receive
automated phone calls informing you that your vehicle is included in the recall.
Sign up to receive recall alerts from NHTSA. The agency will always be informed
first, and it could take time for a notice to come to you by mail.
- If you know that your car has been recalled, act on it. Contact your dealer
for a replacement part right away. Supplies are very limited. It may take
years for Takata to produce enough replacements. Even then, priority will
likely be given to high-humidity states and older vehicles since engineers
believe that moisture and age can trigger the defect.
Read the latest developments on the Takata recall on NHTSA's new
Recalls Spotlight page.
Lawsuits against Takata and vehicle manufacturers are already underway
in Florida. If you or a loved one was in a car accident, and you suspect
a faulty Takata air bag contributed to your injuries, you should speak
with a qualified
products liability attorney at Maher Law Firm as soon as possible.
We believe that manufacturers of dangerous products should be held accountable
when their negligence results in someone else's injuries or death.
To speak with a lawyer, call or
contact us online today.