Takata Acknowledges Airbag Inflator Defect, NHTSA to Coordinate Remedy Program
Recently, United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that manufacturer Takata has admitted to the existence of a defect within its airbag inflators. Takata has agreed to expand its recall of the defective airbags to a national level. The inflators within affected airbags were manufactured with propellant wafers that have been found to degrade over time, leading to ruptures that are responsible for at least six deaths worldwide. After this recent action, the total number of vehicles recalled due to defective Takata inflators has climbed to around 34 million. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a Consent Order to Takata, which requires that the company cooperate fully with any other regulatory action that the agency takes in its investigatory capacity over the recall. The NHTSA further intends to begin the formal legal process in an effort to organize the replacement of defective Takata airbags under NHTSA's authority.
The Department of Transportation has assured the public that it intends to tirelessly work to see that defective inflators are replaced with safe alternatives in a timely manner. Those drivers and passengers most at risk will be treated with priority, but said replacement will continue until every last defective inflator is replaced.
The Takata passenger side airbag recall was previously limited to high humidity states. However, now it is nationwide and involves some 16 million vehicles. Driver side inflators are also now nationally recalled, a step that will involve about 17 million vehicles.
The website www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight was established to provide up to date information as to the Takata recall. Testing is still ongoing and thus far, an exact cause of the inflator malfunctions has not been established. NHTSA's initial testing has found that moisture exposure over a period of time changes the structure of the propellant used, causing it to ignite when the airbag deploys.
A number of different vehicles are involved in the recall, including BMW, Acura, Chrysler, Honda, GM, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, and Ford. Any car owner should check their manufacturer's website for information concerning recalls. By typing in your VIN number, your manufacturer's website should provide a full list of recalls as well as notify you as to whether your vehicle is involved.
Anyone involved in a car accident that may have been related to a defective airbag should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Several lawsuits have been filed against Takata by those injured due to the defective product.
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