Federal Officials Expand Investigation into Millions of Vehicles Over Airbag Failure
Ford Motor Company has confirmed a second death in an older pickup truck caused by a faulty Takata airbag inflator. According to a Reuters news report, Ford officials say they confirmed late in December that a July 2017 crash death in West Virginia involving a 2006 Ford Ranger was caused by a defective Takata inflator. It previously reported a similar death in South Carolina, which occurred in December 2015.
Warning to Stop Driving Pickups
Ford said both fatalities involved airbag inflators made on the same day installed in 2006 Ranger pickup trucks. So far, at least 21 deaths worldwide are linked to the Takata inflators, which could potentially rupture and send shards of metal flying into the vehicle passenger compartment. The faulty inflators have led to the unprecedented recall in the United States. Ford issued a new recall for vehicles that had been previously recalled in 2016. Takata has already filed for bankruptcy following this historic recall.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has urged owners to heed Ford’s warning and not drive their vehicles until the repairs have been done. Ford has said it would pay to have the vehicles towed to dealerships or send mobile repair teams to vehicle owners’ homes or provide free loaner vehicles if needed.
An Historic Recall
Takata said in June that it expects to recall 125 million vehicles worldwide by 2019 affecting 19 automakers worldwide, including more than 60 million in the United States. In 2017, prosecutors in Detroit charged three former senior Takata executives with falsifying test results to hide the inflator defect. None have come to the United States to face charges. Last year, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was to pay $1 billion in criminal penalties.
This week, Toyota and Honda recalled more than 1 million additional vehicles in the United States to replace defective and potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators. The new recalls come after Takata revealed that another 3.3 million airbag inflators are defective. While millions of vehicles have been recalled, repairs and replacement airbags have been slow to come by. Automakers have also faced significant challenges in getting the word out to consumers about the defective inflators.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a defective Takata airbag, it is important to understand that you have legal rights. Contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who has successfully handled these types of cases. You may be eligible to receive compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress.