Hits just keep on coming with car air bag recalls
Prior to about 2014, few people knew what a Takata air bag was. Today, nearly everyone probably does and the list of people affected by vehicle recalls because of defects in the car safety devices only continue to grow.
As we noted in a post last October, federal investigators in the United States confirmed at least 11 deaths in this country. Another five occurred in Asia. The latest U.S. fatality was a 50-year-old woman.
The problem with many Takata air bags that are standard equipment in many cars and trucks is that they become unstable over time. Specifically, the explosive chemicals used to inflate the bags in a vehicle crash decay. The result is that the igniters go off with such force that pieces of metal go flying through the cabin of the vehicle with injuries, even deadly consequences.
To date, more than 42 million of the air bags have been put under recall notice. The latest announcement last week added another 3 million to the bunch. It’s estimated that about 70 million U.S. cars are carrying defective equipment.
In addition to the 11 deaths, hundreds of injuries have been recorded in the U.S. Officials are not pleased with the pace at which the recall is going. Members of Congress have labeled the effort “abysmal” and want the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to step up pressure to get things done.
Meanwhile, Takata is reported to be facing a $1 billion fine from the U.S. Several executives have been indicted by a federal grand jury of conspiracy in connection with an alleged cover-up about the product problems, and Takata is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
Where that leaves individuals in Louisiana who may be concerned about the safety of their own vehicles? Officials of the outgoing administration in Washington say carmakers are obligated to make good on repairs regardless of what happens with Takata. However, it’s not clear if the new administration will stay that course.
In such an environment, consulting an attorney about one’s options would seem to be advice well taken.