Takata Airbag Recall Affects Nearly 34 Million Vehicles

Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a statement saying that air bag recall lawyerTakata Corporation has finally acknowledged that the airbag inflators it manufactured for certain vehicles were faulty. Takata has issued the largest automotive recall in history; the recall affects nearly 34 million vehicles.

The company’s acknowledgement comes after ten years of denying that its products were defective. In fact, auto manufacturers had to initiate their own recalls and began doing so in 2013. In November 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered Takata to initiate a nationwide recall of their airbags. Because Takata did not immediately cooperate with the NHTSA’s investigation, they were fined $14,000 per day, starting in February 2015. The company’s fines total over $1 million for obstructing the recall process. It is unknown if the NHTSA will actually collect this fine.

Takata is an automotive parts company based in Japan that has been in business since 1933. The company has been producing airbags since 1998 and now holds over 20 percent of the airbag market. Takata has been in the hot seat since 2013, when several reports of serious injuries and death had been linked to the company’s airbags. Six people have died and over 100 more have been injured as a result of Takata’s faulty airbags. In some crashes, the airbags released metal shards that penetrated the driver’s face and neck.

In July 2014, a pregnant Malaysian woman was killed in a car crash involving her 2003 Honda City, which was equipped with the faulty airbag. The woman died when a metal shard from her ruptured airbag sliced into her neck after another vehicle hit hers. She had been driving at 30 mph. The woman’s daughter was delivered after she died, but the newborn died three days later. Another crash involving the faulty airbag disfigured a man after a three-inch piece of metal lodged into his face, causing him to lose an eye.

Takata has stated that the airbag problems stem from the propellant in the inflators (i.e. the explosive material that allows gases to inflate the airbag). The propellant can degrade over time when exposed to high humidity and changes in temperature, making it prone to “overaggressive combustion.” Residents in the southern United States should be especially aware of this recall as humidity and warmer weather raise the likelihood of a faulty airbag combusting during a car crash.

Engineers and consultants who worked for Takata have said they had raised concerns over a decade ago that the explosive material they use in their airbags was sensitive to moisture and temperature changes. Further, tests carried out on the airbags in the early 2000’s revealed leaks that allowed moisture to come into contact with the explosive material. The company ignored these warnings and continued manufacturing the faulty airbags. Takata denies these claims stating there was no way to spot such complex problems.

The NHTSA is now working with Takata and automakers to ensure the faulty airbags are replaced as soon as possible. To review updated information on this recall, or to check your vehicle’s status by VIN.

Airbags are installed in vehicles to save lives and prevent serious injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a faulty airbag, you have a right to recover compensation for your harms and losses. Companies like Takata continue to put the general public at risk and would rather be fined $14,000 per day than admit any fault. Call us today for a FREE consultation. There is absolutely no fee to discuss your case with our experienced injury lawyers, and there is no fee unless we win. Contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 314-409-7060, or Toll-Free 855-40-CRASH.

*The following is a list of vehicles potentially affected by the Takata recall:
Acura CL, 2003
Acura MDX, 2003-2005
Acura TL, 2002-2003
BMW 325Ci, 2004-2006
BMW 325i, 2004-2006
BMW 325Xi, 2004-2005
BMW 330Ci, 2004-2006
BMW 330i, 2004-2006
BMW 330Xi, 2004-2005
BMW 3-Series, 2000-2006
BMW M3, 2001-2006
Chrysler 300, 2005-2008
Chrysler 300C, 2005-2007
Chrysler Aspen, 2007-2008
Chrysler SRT8, 2005-2007
Dodge Charger, 2005-2007
Dodge Dakota, 2005-2007
Dodge Durango, 2004-2008
Dodge Magnum, 2005-2007
Dodge Ram 1500, 2003-2008
Dodge Ram 2500, 2003-2008
Dodge Ram 3500, 2003-2008
Ford GT, 2005-2006
Ford Mustang, 2005-2008
Ford Ranger, 2004-2005
Honda Accord, 2001-2007
Honda Civic, 2001-2005
Honda Civic Hybrid, 2003
Honda CR-V, 2002-2006
Honda Element, 2003-2011
Honda Odyssey, 2002-2004
Honda Pilot, 2003-2008
Honda Ridgeline, 2006
Infiniti FX35, 2003-2005
Infiniti FX45, 2003-2005
Infiniti I30, 2001
Infiniti I35, 2002-2004
Infiniti M35, 2006
Infiniti M45, 2006
Infiniti QX4, 2002-2003
Lexus SC, 2002-2007
Mazda6, 2004-2008
MazdaSpeed Mazda6, 2006-2007
Mazda RX, 2004-2008
Mitsubishi Lancer, 2004-2005
Mitsubishi Raider, 2006-2007
Nissan Maxima, 2001-2003
Nissan Pathfinder, 2001-2004
Nissan Sentra, 2002-2006
Pontiac Vibe, 2003-2007
Saab 9-2X, 2005
Subaru Baja, 2003-2005
Subaru Impreza, 2004-2005
Subaru Legacy, 2003-2005
Subaru Outback, 2003-2005
Toyota Corolla, 2003-2007
Toyota Corolla Matrix, 2003-2007
Toyota Rav4, 2004-2005
Toyota Sequoia, 2002-2007
Toyota Tundra, 2003-2006

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