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Blowing Away Old Records: Takata’s Exploding Airbags

Recently, Takata, a Japanese auto part manufacturer, set a new, and shameful, record for the most recalled cars ever. Takata previously had issued smaller recalls related to their dangerous exploding airbags, but now have caved to government pressure and have issued recalls on a far larger scale. The recalls have almost doubled, from about 18 million cars to a total of 34 million cars. Put in other terms, about one in seven cars on the road in the U.S. today have been affected. For more information, check out CNN Money’s article on the recalls and Danielle Ivory and Hiroko Tabuchi’s Article in the New York Times.

 

The defective airbags have been reported to explode and send shrapnel into the passenger compartment, hitting both the driver and passenger in the face and body. Witnesses to these accidents have reported that the victims look as though they had just been shot or stabbed repeatedly. Most of the reported incidents, which include 5 cases where the accident victims died from their wounds, occurred after an accident, but there is one reported case of the airbag triggering when a car was stopped. Thus, a critical life saving device has been transformed into something reminiscent of a claymore mine, presumably through cost cutting measures taken by the manufacturer. To make matters worse, Takata has not owned up to its misconduct, but instead pushed federal regulators to accept a limited recall, insisting that the airbags would only explode in very humid climates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) pushed the airbag manufacturer and auto manufacturers to expand the recall, resulting in a total fine of $1.2 million dollars against Takata for failing to comply with the federal government’s investigation. This massive fine finally triggered the expanded recall, which sets the new world record.

 

We all spend a lot of time in our cars, and much of the time we are not alone; we are with our friends and family, the people who we cherish the most. We all need to be vigilant about these recalls and if your car shows up on the list, bring it to your local car dealer immediately. You can go to the NHTSA’s special website to learn if your car has been recalled. Have your VIN number ready and click on the “VIN Lookup” tab on the left hand side of the webpage. Additionally, the full list of recalled vehicles is not up yet, so remember to check back in the coming weeks as the story unfolds. Also, check the NHTSA’s main website for recall information, as well as other helpful sites. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, please do not hesitate to contact Keches Law Group so that we can discuss the proper remedies for your unique situation.

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Brian C. Dever, Attorney at Law
Keches Law Group, P.C.
Taunton, MA
877-333-6033