Takata Corp. recently announced a recall of almost 34 million vehicles due to faulty air bags. The company had initially recalled 17 million vehicles because of air bag problems, but finally bowed to pressure from regulators to recall more vehicles. The recall is expected to be conducted by up to 11 auto makers. This recall is one of the largest actions for any industry in U.S. history.
The defective air bags are in a wide variety of vehicles, including cars manufactured by GM, Toyota, and Honda. Nearly 14 percent of the 250 million cares on the road are equipped with the defective air bags.
Takata admitted in reports filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that inflater propellants can change over time and explode, sending shrapnel flying through the vehicle. Six deaths and over 100 injuries have been linked to the problem. Some of the injuries include vision damage from shrapnel hitting an eye.
It is still not clear which vehicles will be subject to the recall, or when owners can expect repairs. Experts suggest it could take months or years for the vehicles to be fixed. Takata first has to produce enough parts for the recall. Then the recalls will have to be scheduled at dealerships. The U.S. Transportation Secretary called it the most complex consumer safety recall in U.S. history.
This recall follows another huge recall last year of GM vehicles with defective ignition switches. In that recall, federal safety officials were criticized for their lack of action surrounding the problem with the switches, which have been linked to over 100 deaths. This year, safety officials have announced a $70 million fine for Honda for failing to report safety problems and announced a hearing about Chrysler’s failure to recall certain vehicles.
The root cause of the air bag problem still has not been uncovered. Takata and auto makers are meeting to determine the cause, although some have blamed the problem on high humidity. Takata previously tried to limit the scope of the recall to very humid areas. However, people continued to be hurt by exploding air bags outside the recall area even after the limited regional recall took place. Takata has since suggested there are possible of manufacturing issues.
The most recent death linked to the exploding air bags occurred in a 2002 Honda Accord near Houston. The vehicle was recalled in 2011 because of the defective air bag, but was never repaired. A piece of metal from the inflater stuck in the driver’s neck and caused a fatal injury.
When a defective vehicle causes an individual to be injured, the injured person can seek compensation from the automobile manufacturer. The manufacturer is legally responsible for the hurt person’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If a person is killed because of the defect, his or her family can recover compensation for wrongful death and other claims.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that automobile manufacturers owe a high duty to ensure that their customers are not injured because of a vehicle defect, and if they fail in that duty, they should be held legally responsible. If you have been injured in an automobile accident because of a defective vehicle, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney, at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She will provide you with a free consultation on your case. Call to learn more.