Takata Airbag Recall Expanded To 33.8M VehiclesMay 21, 2015
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has expanded the massive Takata airbag recall to 33.8 million vehicles. The expanded Takata airbag recall is now the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history, surpassing the GM ignition switch recall of last year. The federal recall order comes after several automakers issued voluntary recalls for specific models with the defective airbags. Drivers of the affected vehicles may be forced to wait for weeks for replacement parts due to the increased demand.
Reasons for the Takata Airbag Recall
Several automakers began issuing their own Takata airbag recall notices when reports revealed problems with the airbag’s inflation system. The system uses ammonium nitrate gas to inflate the airbags during a collision. Laboratory tests showed that ammonium nitrate can become highly unstable in humid conditions. Such explosions can result in metal and plastic shrapnel being propelled at high velocities into front-seat occupants. While the manufacturer issued a limited Takata airbag recall, most automakers stepped in and issued nationwide recalls.
Company Disputed Massive Takata Airbag Recall
Last year, NHTSA officials called on the manufacturer to issue a nationwide Takata airbag recall. The manufacturer had previously limited its Takata airbag recall to drivers in states with high humidity, such as Hawaii, Florida and the Gulf Coast region. The federal safety agency maintained that drivers who have moved from one part of the country to another, or who had sold or transferred their affected vehicles to drivers in other parts of the country, were still in danger from the explosive airbags. Takata representatives continued to ignore calls for nationwide recalls until now.
Deaths, Injuries Prompt Takata Airbag Recall
At least six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been tied to problems related to the Takata airbag recall. A Florida woman lost her life when her vehicle’s airbag deployed and exploded. Police on the scene reportedly stated that the woman appeared to have been stabbed multiple times and died due to blood loss. Investigators later tied her death to the metal shards the exploding airbag propelled into her face, neck and torso.
Drivers File Takata Airbag Recall Lawsuits
In addition to the government recalls and loss of trust from their automaker customers, the Takata airbag recall has also sparked a number of product liability lawsuits. Plaintiffs are alleging that the manufacturer was aware of the problems surrounding the ammonium nitrate propellant, but continued to use the volatile chemical as a cost-saving measure. Now the company faces hundreds of lawsuits, which will cost them millions in jury verdicts and settlements.
Source: ABC News
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