30 Million Vehicles in the U.S. Still Have Faulty Air Bags

photo of steering wheel airbag

Many months ago, a Japanese safety equipment manufacturer announced the largest parts recall in automotive history. That's when Takata Corp owned up to a mistake that high-ranking officials within the company might have been covering up for years. Three of the former senior Takata executives were charged in U.S. court with criminal offenses including falsifying test results. Their actions ended in 46.2 million vehicles being recalled in United States alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a large percentage of the affected cars and trucks still have not been fixed. The NHTSA maintains an online listing of vehicle makes, models, and years of Vehicles Affected that consumers can use free of charge.

To pave the way for Takata to fulfill the company's obligation to replace faulty air bag inflators that can spew dangerous shrapnel, the Japanese giant filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Japan. The legal action opened the door for Key Safety Systems, a U.S.-based parts supplier owned by Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp of China. Corporate leaders felt this was the only viable option the company had, as Key will be able to continue producing airbag inflators to supply ongoing replacement of faulty airbags in recalled vehicles. Federal regulators issued warnings that inflators in 2001-2003 models of Honda and Acura vehicles have up to a 50% chance of a dangerous rupture in a crash. Owners of those vehicles should stop driving until repairs have been made.

Takata, who also manufactures 1/3rd of all seatbelts globally, faces hundreds of lawsuits and personal injury claims in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Moreover, consumer protection lawsuits have been filed in three states. In February, documents were filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida claiming five automakers (Ford, Nissan, Honda, BMW, and Toyota) knew the airbags could rupture violently, injuring occupants, but continued to use the faulty devices in order to save money. This paves the way for product liability claims based on “misrepresentation of dangers posed”, which is an unreasonable action. If you have a vehicle on the NHTSA list, get it fixed. If a faulty airbag inflator injured you or a loved one, contact Schackow & Mercadante today.