NHTSA under review for Takata airbag recall. Agency putting more pressure on Takata to turn over records
More than 14 million cars have been recalled around the globe for faulty airbags from the Japanese supplier Takata Corp. The recall includes 11 million vehicles in the United States alone. The NHTSA is under fire from lawmakers for issuing a geographic recall of vehicles.
Critics of the geographic recall, including several U.S. senators, call it irresponsible. The NHTSA limits the recall to specific geographic regions of high humidity, but does not take into consideration the mobility of American drivers.
In June, the NHTSA inquired as to whether Takata air bag inflators made from 2000 to 2007 were properly sealed or subject to other defects. The agency asked certain automakers to recall millions of airbags in certain regions, including Florida and Puerto Rico, where the parts were exposed to higher humidity that could cause deterioration of the explosive material inside.
According to NBC News, critics have noted that while one fatal accident involving Takata airbags occurred in Florida, three other known Takata airbag deaths occurred in Oklahoma, Virginia and California. None of those states are covered by the regional recalls.
Reuters reported that last week, Takata first disclosed to the NHTSA that airbags with a recently discovered flaw were made from 2008-2014. The new flaw was apparently discovered in June. The driver side airbag inflator may contain a faulty part that would cause the inflator to rupture. Both General Motors and Nissan have recalled a combined 30,867 cars to address this problem. According to Reuters, Takata’s latest report does not say how many additional vehicles could be affected by this new problem.
The latest problem, which involves the installation of an incorrect baffle, was discovered after a lawsuit was filed against GM and Takata in April. The suit alleged that an accident left a Georgia woman blind in one eye, and claimed her car and driver-side airbags were defective and unreasonably dangerous.
Last Thursday, October 30, the NHTSA gave Takata one month to answer 36 questions that may help uncover what lead to the air bag recalls. If Takata does not fully cooperate, they face fines up to $35 million. Bloomberg reported that the agency is seeking information on quality control at a factory, the use of contaminated or improperly formulated propellant, and a complete account of deaths and injuries, according to its legal order.
Critics feel that Takata and NHTSA have not moved fast enough on recalling faulty airbags. Lawyers for U.S. consumers requested that a federal judge in Miami speed up a class action against Takata and four automakers, saying public safety was at stake.
If you have suffered airbag-related injuries, 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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