What has proved to be the largest auto safety recall could become even bigger as auto safety regulators announced they are expanding their investigation of airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation.
According to an ABC News report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating yet another airbag inflator that could pose a risk of rupturing.
The Takata SSI-20, which is primarily used in side airbags, is the model in question.
General Motors has already recalled about 400 vehicles equipped with these airbags and Volkswagen has also reported SSI-20 ruptures.
Largest Ever Recall
About 23 million driver and passenger front airbags produced by Takata have already been recalled after automakers discovered that inflators in these airbags could rupture, spraying metal shrapnel and seriously injuring vehicle occupants.
This recall, the largest in U.S. history, has affected 19 million automobiles. NHTSA is looking into ways to help speed up the repair process.
So far, at least seven people have died and 98 have been injured by Takata airbag ruptures in the U.S. Victims have suffered facial lacerations, broken facial bones and even loss of eyesight. According to NHTSA’s estimates, nearly one in 10 ruptures involving defective Takata air bag inflators ended in death.
Regulators are prioritizing remedies based on a number of risk factors including the age of the inflator and its long-term exposure to heat and humidity that increases the likelihood of a rupture.
Taking the Recalls Seriously
In recalls of such magnitude, the challenge is to make consumers aware that their vehicles are being recalled for a critical safety defect. Government regulators say that when a Takata airbag ruptures, one out of 10 times, someone dies. This is a matter of life and death. But Takata does not have the fixes in place yet.
As a result, a majority of consumers whose vehicles are equipped with Takata airbags are still driving around in a vehicle that poses serious risks. Drivers, especially those in high humidity areas, should be wary. Regulators are warning consumers not to buy airbags online.
For more information about this recall and potential fixes, visit safercar.gov.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a Takata airbag, please contact an experienced auto product liability attorney who has successfully handled these types of cases. The best auto defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.