Recall of Exploding Takata Air Bags Expanded to Cover 3 Million More Vehicles
While air bags constitute one of the most valuable forms of vehicle safety equipment, they sometimes fail to offer protection to vehicle occupants when they do not deploy properly. In some situations, vehicle occupants are placed at greater risk by a defective air bag than the impact of a collision. Although the GM recall of faulty ignition switches is dominating the news, the recall of potentially explosive airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. has become the fifth largest recall in the history of the auto industry according to a recent New York Times report. The report indicates that faulty air bags have accounted for one-third of all vehicle recalls so far this year.
Seven additional carmakers just recalled an additional 3 million vehicles related to the risk of exploding air bags. This new recall brings the total number of vehicles recalled because of the risk of exploding air bags to 10.5 million during the last five year period. The automakers annouinced the recall due to allegedly faulty air bag inflators manufactured by Takata. According to Honda, the air bag inflators manufactured from 2000-2002 pose a risk of exploding and propelling shrapnel at vehicle occupants. The automaker indicated that the problem was related to how explosive material used to inflate the air bag was processed and handled in manufacturing plants in Mexico and the United States.
During April and May of last year, a number of Japanese car manufacturers and BMW recalled 3.6 million vehicles because of this air bag defect. In June of this year, Toyota expanded the recall to include another 2.3 million vehicles. Many of the vehicles covered by the second recall involved other airbags in vehicles included in the first recall. Takata indicated that the other airbags in recalled vehicles were not included in the first recall because the company kept inadequate records. Because of the poor recordkeeping issue, some speculate that the number of recalled vehicles could continue to rise based on new evidence regarding vehicles equipped with the faulty air bags.
This new wave of recalls, which involved vehicles manufactured by Honda, Nissan, Chrysler, Mazda, Toyota and BMW, is the result of an investigation initiated this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The impetus for the NHTSA investigation was three separate complaints involving injuries from ruptured air bag inflators. A spokesman for Honda told the NY Times that it was aware of two deaths and thirty injuries related to the air bags propelling debris at vehicle occupants.
Takata is one of the three major air bag suppliers that command the lion-share of the market. Approximately one in five air bags is manufactured by Takata. The auto parts supplier is the sole global provider of air bags for a number of motor vehicle manufacturers.
The extent of the danger posed by these defective air bags is evidenced by a tragic accident that seriously injured Kristy Williams. She stopped her vehicle at a red light in Georgia when her airbag spontaneously deployed. She was struck by metal debris from the canister in which the air bag propellant was stored. Sharp shards of metal punctured her carotid artery. She required multiple surgeries and suffered several strokes and seizures. Her personal injury claim was settled for an undisclosed sum.
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If you or someone close to you has suffered injury because of a defective air bag, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.