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NHTSA pressures Takata and automakers to expand airbag recall

Safety regulators urged Takata and automakers this week to broaden the range of the current recall involving Takata airbags, which is now only limited to certain states with high humidity. This move on the part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reflects a growing concern to immediately address problems with the Takata airbags.

The Washington Post reported that that a national recall of vehicles equipped with these potentially explosive airbags could affect an estimated 30 million vehicles in the United States.

ABC News quoted David Friedman of the NHTSA as stating, “If Takata refuses, then we will take appropriate action to begin a process with Takata and the automakers to force them to take action to recall all of the affected vehicles.” The NHTSA says that they can no longer support a regional recall focused solely on the areas of high temperatures and high humidity.

Safety regulators said that this decision is based on accidents involving a death in California and an injury in North Carolina, both of which involved Takata airbags. Neither state is in the area covered by the current recall.

The proposed national recall covers vehicles made by Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda and BMW, generally from the 2008 model year and earlier. The recall is concerned exclusively with driver-side airbags. Currently, the NHTSA is not demanding a national recall of Takata’s passenger side airbags, because they have different inflators.

The New York Times reported that more than 14 million vehicles from 11 automakers have been recalled worldwide since 2008, because of problems with the airbags. At least five deaths and well over one hundred injuries have been linked to the problem, which causes the airbags to explode when deployed, shooting metal fragments into a driver’s face and neck.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey, who have been calling for a widespread recall, said this recent move by the NHTSA acknowledges that the dangers presented by the airbags are not just limited to certain areas of the country.

Takata is apparently also facing a problem keeping up with demand for replacement parts, even for the smaller regional recall. They will likely have an even greater problem keeping up with demand in a national recall.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that Honda is quietly fixing airbags across the nation if customers were concerned about their safety. So far, Honda has formally issued recalls in 13 states and territories. The Washington Post reported that Toyota asked dealers to disable Takata airbags if they can’t be replaced, and warn against riding in the passenger seat.

If you have been injured in a car accident, and believe it may be as a result of a faulty Takata airbag, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. Call the Munley team today for a free consultation at 855-866-5529.

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