Our auto defect lawyers have been following with great interest the development in the Takata airbag recall, which has affected millions of vehicles and consumers.
The New York Times released a report this week stating that the Japanese manufacturer, Takata, secretly conducted tests on 50 airbags it received from scrapyards and knew about the problem of exploding airbags in 2004, about 10 years ago.
According to the Times, during these secret tests, the steel inflators in two of the airbags cracked, a condition that could lead to ruptures.
Two former employees involved in the secret tests have come forward with this information that Takata knew a decade ago that their faulty airbags could rupture and potentially kill vehicle occupants.
But instead of alerting federal safety regulators to the possible danger, Takata executives swept the test results under the rug by ordering lab technicians to delete the testing data from their computers and get rid of the airbag inflators in the trash.
Injuries and Fatalities Lead to Recalls
The Takata airbags have led to numerous recalls involving 11 automakers and more than 14 million vehicles worldwide due to the rupture risks.
Four people have died as a result of this defect, which can cause the airbag’s steel canister to crack and explode to pieces when the device deploys during a crash. The airbags are inflated by a propellant.
Based on consumer complaints, Takata airbags have been blamed for at least 139 injuries including 37 people who reported airbags that ruptured or sent shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment.
Takata is one of the largest suppliers of airbags globally, accounting for one-fifth of the world market.
Putting Profits Over Consumer Safety
Bisnar Chase’s Senior Partner Brian Chase says Takata’s actions are yet another prime example of how manufacturers place profit over safety.
“Rather than spending money to redesign a clearly defective part, Takata made the conscious decision to bury its test result and hide the information from safety regulators and the general public, thus exposing millions to a deadly defect. If a case ever warranted punitive damages, this is the one.”
We would’ve never known about this secret test had the employees not come forward.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these dangerous or defective airbag, it is important that you contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer who has successfully handled cases against large automakers and product manufacturers.
Corporations who put profits over public safety must be held accountable.