Car Manufacturers Recalling Defective Takata Airbags after Reports of Fatalities, Injuries
The Takata airbag recall has officially become the largest automotive recall in the history of the United States, affecting vehicles being driven in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and everywhere else in the country.
The recall was necessitated by a defective auto part: the airbags, which are manufactured by Takata and installed in cars, have a chemical ingredient that can deteriorate under extreme heat in warm-weather climates. This deterioration can become dangerous, and even deadly, when the vehicle is involved in a car accident: the airbag inflator can explode upon impact and spray metal shrapnel throughout the car, causing significant personal injuries to vehicle drivers and passengers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is overseeing the auto product recall, there have already been at least 10 deaths and in excess of 100 injuries as a result of car crashes involving the defective airbags. It is very possible that the families of the victims involved in the fatal car accidents will be filing wrongful death lawsuits at some point in the future.
What’s the Plan for the Auto Recall?
The defective airbag recall now affects as many as 70 million motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles. The sheer size of the product recall has made it almost impossible for auto manufacturers to repair and replace all of the affected vehicles at once. As a result, automakers are using a “triage” system to determine which cars are most in need of being repaired or replaced. Generally speaking, the recall is prioritizing vehicles driven on roads in warmer regions of the country and/or older model vehicles more likely to contain airbags that have become defective over time.
The problem, of course, is that these two criteria can create confusion about whether a car truly needs to be repaired immediately. For instance, what happens when an older-model vehicle is operated in a cold-weather climate? Or what about a newer-model car being driven in a region of the country with high humidity? And now that it’s summer and much of the U.S. has been hit with a heat wave, are all of the affected vehicles at risk of potentially deadly airbag explosions in motor vehicle collisions?
Another concern that has been raised by auto safety experts is that several car manufacturers are still producing vehicles that use the same type of airbag inflator already deemed defective. In order to ensure that no one else suffers a serious injury as a result of an airbag explosion, the NHTSA has asked that Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen immediately stop manufacturing these cars with the defective airbag inflators.
For more information, read the following article: The Takata air bag mess: Danger and confusion mount