Drivers Warned to Park Older Ford Pickups Due to Dangerous Takata Airbags
The U.S. government is trying to get automakers to speed up the repair of 42 million vehicles that are being recalled for potentially lethal and defective airbag inflators manufactured by Takata Corporation. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, this call expresses renewed concern about the pace of the recall, which is an unprecedented one for the U.S. auto industry. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a schedule for further recalls and said it would require all 19 companies involved to submit plans to reach more vehicle owners.
The airbag inflators in question – about 69 million of them – could potentially explode with too much force and spew shrapnel into vehicle occupants. The driver- and passenger-side airbags are affected in some of these vehicles. The disturbing fact is that as of last week, only 12.5 million, or about 18 percent of the inflators, had been replaced. NHTSA has said some automakers weren’t doing enough to contact owners. The agency ordered the companies to turn in a “recall engagement plan” within 90 days to increase the completion rate.
Dangers Posed by Takata Airbags
So far, 11 people have been killed by Takata inflators in the U.S. and as many as 16 have died worldwide. The government says about 180 people have been injured in the United States alone. Recalls are being phased in through the end of 2020. NHTSA added sports car maker McLaren to the list of affected automakers. The delay in repairs has been partly due to a lack of available parts. NHTSA has said some vehicle owners haven’t gotten the repairs despite the parts being available.
While the average recall repair completion rate is 70 percent NHTSA officials are eager to see 100 percent of the repairs completed with Takata airbag inflators because of the potential dangers. Takata inflators contain the chemical ammonium nitrate, which triggers a small explosion as the airbags are deployed. But this chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high heat and humidity. This could end up shattering a metal canister sending pieces of sharp mental into the passenger compartment endangering occupants.
Auto Product Liability Issues
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective Takata airbag inflator, it is important to know that you do have rights. You may be able to receive compensation for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect attorney who has successfully handled similar cases against large automakers will be able to fight for your rights and help ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable.