Car Accident Attorneys Are Watching the Takata Recall Closely
The buzz is still there, and it is getting louder. With over 14 automakers issuing recalls on their cars, the Takata Airbag Recall is the probably the largest safety recall in U.S. history. The problem: self-deploying airbags installed in cars from as early as 2002. These air bags can explode with shrapnel and injure or even kill passengers.
Based on investigations, the airbag’s inflator is what is causing the explosion. The inflator is a metal cartridge designed with propellant wafers which are defective. Time, moisture, and other environmental factors can cause the propellant to ignite and cause the airbag to explode. In the worst case scenario, the metal casing can rupture during the explosion, turning it into deadly shrapnel.
Current Status of the Issue
As of September 2016, there are nine recorded deaths in the United States and another 139 are injured, all of which are because of the airbag explosions. To date, a total of 16.5 million units are recalled from at least 14 car manufacturers. Outside the U.S., there are three recorded deaths in Malaysia. The estimated total number of affected cars is at 35 million.
As of October 20, 2016, the Takata airbag claimed another life in a 2001 Honda Civic, which is now the 11th death in the United States. Out of the 11 fatalities, nine of these are from Honda and Acura. According to Honda, they estimate that only 300,000 affected vehicles did not go through the necessary repair.
What Automakers Are Doing
For the last few months, several automakers have taken proactive steps to correct the problem. In recent months, Honda and Acura dealers have replaced upwards of 20,000 Takata airbags on a daily basis. Some companies also cold called their customers, advising them to take their vehicles to the nearest dealership for replacement. Others went so far as to advertise in football games and send mass emails and snail mails to their consumer base.
Some manufacturers, like Honda, created a centralized web center which houses all relevant information and updates about the recall. This web page is prominently displayed in Honda’s home page. As days go by, the issue seems to be discovered in more and more older car models. Honda also doubled its call center representatives to answer the growing number of people calling each day. Automated phone calls and text messaging programs are also in place.
Also, several companies took the initiative to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to increase awareness and invite customers to bring in their cars. Some even distributed flyers as a means to educate people of the growing problem.
Below is a list of car manufacturers reported to have been affected by the recall.
- GM Pontiac and Saab
- Jaguar/Land Rover
Takata’s Legal Battle
An article in the New York Times suggested that Takata had prior knowledge of the defective airbags but did not report it to the appropriate authorities. The U.S. government is now calling for a criminal investigation on the case. Takata, on the other hand, denied the accusation and said that they are in cooperation with the government investigation.
Takata, however, stated as early as 2015, that it has 88 reports of the explosions. Takata is legally liable to replace all these airbags which have been implemented over the course of 15 years in different car makes and models. Today, the campaign is focused on high humidity areas where airbag explosions are likely to occur. Takata may also be liable for many wrongful deaths.
Common Consumer Inquiries
Concerned consumers naturally have a lot of questions about this major recall. Below, we have supplied the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
How serious is the Issue?
Any recall is a serious matter. Companies will not waste money for recalls if it does not endanger the lives of people. Anyone who has a car with a Takata airbag should call the car company and get clarification if it is part of the recall, especially if the car is old.
Is my place of residence a problem?
Yes, it can be an issue. According to preliminary investigations, the airbags are likely to rupture in high humidity and temperature areas. The high temperature activates the chemical and creates an explosive reaction, rupturing the metal cases and deploying the airbag. Examples of these states are Florida, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Georgia.
What should I do if my car is affected?
First, call the car company and ask for instructions. The airbag replacement is free of charge. However, you have to pay for repairs should there be other defects found in your car aside from the airbag. Next, don’t use your affect vehicle until the repair is complete. You may carpool with a friend or if possible, rent or borrow someone else’s. This is better than taking the risk of driving your car.
This information has been brought to you by the experienced car accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a defective Takata airbag, please contact us for legal assistance.