The automotive world is abuzz regarding Honda’s massive recall of millions of United States vehicles due to Takata airbag failure. Which vehicles are defective, and what should you do if you own one of these vehicles? This information from a prominent Morgantown defective product lawyer will help.
What’s Wrong with Takata Airbags?
The airbag issue is a serious one; defective inflator and propellant devices may improperly deploy during a crash, potentially injuring occupants with fragments of metal. The supplier, Japanese manufacturer Takata, announced the deadly error in April of 2013, which affects 34 million American vehicles and perhaps another seven million globally. Takata has admitted that it isn’t sure which vehicle makes and models use the defective inflators, or why the inflators were defective at all. Initially, Takata reported that mishandled and improperly stored propellant chemicals were to blame for the metal airbag inflators bursting open with excessive pressure. In July, the company blamed humid weather, which spurred additional recalls.This prompted many automakers to issue their own recalls, with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) forcing additional recalls in high-humidity regions.
Toyota has agreed to expand the recall across several more brands, and began replacing defective passenger-side inflators on October 25, 2015. In some instances, the unavailability of parts has prompted dealers to disable the airbags altogether, while also affixing “Do Not Sit Here” messages to the vehicle’s dashboard, in an effort to protect passenger safety. Have you been affected by a faulty airbag? Speak to a Morgantown defective product lawyer to learn about your rights.
Is Your Vehicle Safe?
No deaths or related injuries have yet been reported. However, a September report from the New York Times uncovered as many as 139 injuries reported across all automakers, including two deaths and 30 injuries occurring in Honda vehicles. The Times alleges that Honda and Takata knew about the defect since 2004 but failed to notify the NHTSA, even when recalls began in earnest in 2008.
Despite Takata’s insistence on the unknown cause, the company has stated that bad welding, rust and even a dropped piece of chewing gum may be at fault. Reuters documents reveal that Takata’s Mexican plant allowed a defect rate six to eight times higher than acceptable limits as recently as 2002.
A vast number of updates have occurred in this case, with the most recent being a Feb. 23, 2016 update, in which ten car makers comprising the Independent Testing Coalition hired Orbital ATK to conduct its own tests of suspect Takata airbag inflators, concluding the inflators were vulnerable to rupture due to “…the combination of three factors—the use of ammonium nitrate, the construction of Takata’s inflator assembly, and the exposure to heat and humidity.” These results are consistent with other internal testing results. On March 2, 2016, Toyota recalled another 198,000 U.S. vehicles potentially affected.
This recall is but one example of what can happen when consumers are exposed to defective products. Manufacturers are required to ensure all of their products are safe when used appropriately. If you or someone you love was injured by a Takata airbag or other defective product, our Morgantown defective product lawyer can help you pursue compensation. Please call Jim Leach 1 (877) 526-5461. We proudly serve clients throughout West Virginia.