Defective Takata Airbags
Takata Corporation, one of the largest suppliers of airbags for the automobile industry, is believed to have sold defective airbags to at least eleven different automakers going as far back as 2001.
The defective airbags use a chemical propellant that has a tendency to deteriorate over time, especially in heat and high humidity. What happens is that as the propellant deteriorates, excessive pressure builds up in the metal inflator housing. It then ruptures, spraying metal shrapnel into the vehicle’s driver and front-seat passenger. Sometimes the airbags deploy without any warning.
Injuries sustained include blindness, facial lacerations, burns, and bleeding from neck wounds.
Airbags have been installed in vehicles from model years 2000 through 2008 with the first report of a fatality in 2004.
Consumer Advisory Alert
On October 22, 2014, the NHTSA issued a Consumer Advisory urging owners of potentially affected vehicles to act immediately on any recall notice received to replace the defective airbags.
According to the Advisory, “Responding to these recalls, whether old or new, is essential to personal safety and it will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata airbags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperature.”
Takata Airbag Recall
Currently, the recall of the defective Takata airbag impacts approximately 32 million vehicles worldwide from eleven automakers. The airbags have been linked to at least four deaths and are blamed for more than 130 injuries.
Although the first reported incident occurred in 2004, the first recall wasn’t issued until 2008 when Honda recalled approximately 4,200 vehicles. Overall, Honda has issued nine recalls affecting approximately 5 million Honda vehicles.
Takata Airbag Recall: What You Need to Know
Approximately 34 million cars affected makes the Takata Airbag recall literally the largest vehicle recall in history surpassing Ford’s defective transmissions in the 1980s, which affected 21 million vehicles.
Defective Takata Airbags: Product Liability Issues
In product liability cases injuries may be the result of manufacturers redesigning a product to reduce costs. In 2001, Takata changed its original chemical propellant to something less expensive and much more unstable when in heat and humidity. Takata is the only airbag manufacturer who uses ammonium nitrate inside the metal canister that inflates the airbag.
Failure to warn is another product liability issue. Takata has been accused of knowing about this defect for several years but failing to issue a recall notice or notify federal safety officials.
A class action lawsuit filed in Seattle alleges that Takata deliberately concealed evidence of the defective airbags, that they were aware of the defect but considered it an anomaly.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 33.1 million Americans are injured by consumer products each year. The defective Takata airbag, just one of those products, is a serious safety issue resulting in serious injuries and even death.
Receive a Free Evaluation
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective airbag manufactured by Takata Corporation, contact us today for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.
On June 22, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a complete list of all makes and models affected by the 44 Takata recalls to date.
You can go to the NHTSA website and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) in order to determine if your car is affected.