There have been many auto recalls in 2014, most famously those issued by General Motors. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Takata airbags after six incidents – including four deaths – in which the airbags ruptured and didn’t function correctly. To date, more than 30 people have been injured in cars that had Takata airbags, reports the BBC. Eight auto manufacturers have since issued recalls on their vehicles that were manufactured with Takata airbags.
Nearly 8 million cars have been affected by the Takata airbag recall, and because of limited availability of parts, many car owners must to wait for repairs.
The Problem with Takata’s Faulty Airbags
There have been many reports of injuries that occurred because Takata’s airbags have malfunctioned. The NHTSA and Takata are still investigating, but it seems the problem may lie with the airbags’ reaction to humidity. All six initial incidents occurred in Florida or Puerto Rico, both of which have a very humid climate.
The Takata airbags use a chemical called ammonium nitrate to deploy the bag upon impact. The chemical is very sensitive to moisture. Industry experts speculate that moisture may be getting into the airbag, which causes the bag to deploy with such force that it shoots plastic and metal fragments into passengers.
The problem may be the result of a manufacturing issue. A Takata plant in Mexico experienced a series of explosions in 2006 as a result of ammonium nitrate exposed to moisture, according to media reports.
What do I do if my car is under recall?
Cars manufactured between 2000 and 2011 might be affected. Below are the six manufacturers that have issued recalls.
If your car is under recall, you should be notified by your manufacturer about the issue. If you haven’t been notified and you suspect your car might be affected, call your manufacturer directly or perform a search for your car on the NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov website.
The NHTSA is warning drivers who have a car with a Takata airbag to take immediate action by calling the manufacturer, having the issue repaired, and driving without passengers until the issue is remedied. You might also want to disable your passenger airbag while awaiting repairs.
The Ramifications of the Takata Recall
First and foremost, four people have lost their lives because of the defective airbags. Dozens of others were injured. These losses were tragic, and yet preventable. Takata and several car manufactures have been sued.
Car makers are beginning to ditch Takata, refusing to use them as a supplier. For instance, AutoNation Inc. recently announced its decision to stop selling cars with Takata airbags. AutoNation Chief Executive Mike Jackson commented last Tuesday: "We as a company have made the decision not to retail any vehicle that is involved in this recall until it is repaired and the vehicles that do come in for service, we are advising the customer not to put a passenger in front of that air bag until it's repaired."
Not surprisingly, Takata’s shares have dropped 50 percent this year so far, yet another ramification of the recall.
Free Consult with a Defective Parts Injury Attorney
If you were injured in a Clarksburg accident related to a faulty Takata airbag, or other malfunctioning auto part, we encourage you to give our injury attorneys a call at The Miley Legal Group. We help injured victims and their families sue negligent manufacturers and get financial settlements for their losses.
Contact us today in Clarksburg for a free consultation at (304) 326-1800.