Takata Automobile Airbags – The Largest Safety Recall in U.S. History
Millions of Vehicles Recalled Due to Defective Airbags
Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata is under fire after millions of vehicles have been recalled due to defective airbag inflators. To date, more than 100 million vehicles have been recalled. Experts anticipate the number may go as high as 250 million worldwide. Reports have linked at least 10 deaths and more than100 injuries to the defect.
The Takata airbags were installed in vehicles with model year ranging from 2002 through 2015. The problem stems from the airbag inflators, a metal cartridge inside the airbag filled with ammonium nitrate propellant, designed to activate the airbag. The inflators can rupture, causing them to improperly and dangerously deploy the airbag when a crash occurs. The rupture stems from Takata’s use of ammonium nitrate, the chemical used in the cartridges to inflate the airbags. Ammonium nitrate can become unstable over time when exposed to high humidity moisture or high temperatures, causing the airbag to explode. Once deployed, the airbag inflator cartridges act like shrapnel, with hot metal shards travelling at high speeds, potentially impaling the vehicle’s passengers and causing serious injury or death.
When the recall was initially announced, six makes of automobiles were the subject of the recall, it has now been extended to 14. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently forced additional recalls in certain areas with high humidity, including Florida, which is considered an “A-Zone”, a designated high-priority recall area due to the high heat and humidity.
Takata, the airbag manufacturer, admitted they did not know which vehicles had airbags with the defective inflators, or what caused the problem, which led to many vehicle manufactures issuing their own recalls. A New York Times story alleged that both Takata and Honda knew about the inflators for years, but failed to do anything to correct the problem or inform the market before the most recent recalls. Takata denies these allegations. Takata originally reported that the chemicals used in the inflators were mishandled and stored improperly. To date, the inflator manufacturer has not provided an official conclusion. United State senators have responded to this monumental product recall by opening a criminal investigation. Congress has ridiculed auto manufacturers for slow recalls and blame the NHTSA for not responding more quickly to the problem.
Various vehicle makes and models are involved in the recall, so owners should contact their auto manufacturer to learn if their car is on the recall list and how to correct the problem. Or, check your VIN number at vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/
If you have been injured by a Takata airbag, contact Ellis, Ged & Bodden, P.A. for aggressive legal representation
Individuals who have been injured in an accident involving a defective Takata airbag may have a valid claim against the manufacturer. The skilled product liability attorneys at Ellis, Ged & Bodden, P.A. are currently taking Takata airbag clients in Boca Raton and throughout the U.S. Our attorneys aggressively pursue compensation for injured victims and families. Contact us online or call (561) 995-1966 to schedule a confidential consultation.