The ongoing Takata airbag recall already is the largest safety recall in automotive history. Now, it’s set to nearly double. Federal regulators are ordering the Japanese parts manufacturer to recall upward of 40 million additional airbags. Until now, the recall stood at about 28.8 million vehicles made by 14 manufacturers and sold throughout the US over the past decade. The latest move spreads the recall to virtually every other major carmaker and brings the total number of recalled units to upward of 70 million. Some industry experts estimate that nearly a quarter of all the vehicles now on America’s roadways will ultimately be covered.
These expansions are set to take place in phases between now and December 2019 and ultimately will mean the recall of every Takata ammonium nitrate-based propellant driver and passenger frontal air bag inflator without a chemical drying agent. It’s this volatile chemical mix that causes affected airbags to explode violently and unexpectedly, even in minor collisions. As a result, metal shards of shrapnel are sent flying throughout a vehicle’s cabin, causing deadly penetration wounds in the faces, chests and hands of drivers and passengers.
“Today’s action is a significant step in the US Department of Transportation’s aggressive oversight of Takata on behalf of drivers and passengers across America,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a prepared statement released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The acceleration of this recall is based on scientific evidence and will protect all Americans from air bag inflators that may become unsafe.
The expanded recall action comes just a month after a Texas high school student became the 11th victim when she was killed in a relatively minor frontal collision. Studies and anecdotal evidence show that affected airbags in cars frequently driven in hot, humid climates – like ours here in Florida – are most susceptible.
We here at Harrell and Harrell urge you to check the NHTSA’s Safercar.gov VIN lookup app to see if your vehicle is subject to the Takata airbag recall or another safety recall. If you or someone you love are injured in an accident involving an affected airbag or other safety defect, get medical treatment and call 800-251-1111 to speak with a Jacksonville product liability or auto accident attorney.