After a year of being dogged by federal investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and almost a decade after discovering the problem, embattled auto-parts manufacturer Takata has finally come clean on defects linked to its airbags.
As originally reported by The New York Times, the malfunction, which causes the airbags to detonate like a grenade, has been linked to at least five deaths and many more injuries. As a result, the NHTSA announced it would begin recalling the over 34 million vehicles believed to contain Takata airbags, making it the largest auto recall in United States history.
To find out whether your vehicle is affected by this massive recall, please visit SaferCar.gov and enter your vehicle identification number.
Along with the admission and mandatory recall, the parts maker was served with a Consent Order, which gives the NHTSA greater oversight into the company’s production going forward.
Now the arduous and complex job of finding, collecting and replacing the faulty airbags begins. In statement issued Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx commented, “The Department of Transportation is taking the proactive steps necessary to ensure that defective inflators are replaced with safe ones as quickly as possible.”
Despite this, officials at the NHTSA, as well as Takata, and the automakers they serve, are aware that identifying and recovering the millions of broken airbags could potentially take years. However, Takata Chairman, Shigehisa Takada, also stated, “We are committed to continuing to work closely with NHTSA and our automaker customers to do everything we can to advance the safety of drivers.”
The primary issue with the machinery stems from the chemical ammonium nitrate, which is sensitive to severe fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Under the proper conditions, the chemical can become unstable and highly volatile, causing the airbag to not only expand, but also explode during an accident. This explosion can cause the internal housing to rupture sending lethal shards of metal into the automobile.
If you have a car that is included in this week’s announcement or believe your car could be part of the recall, Kahn Roven highly recommends speaking with either your car dealer or local mechanic about next steps. Additionally, if you have been injured in an accident and you suspect your vehicle’s airbag could have been the cause, contact our office today and schedule a free consultation. Our number is (844) 9-INJURED.