We have discussed the dangers of Takata airbags in our blog before – back in January 2016 – and how they have caused more than 10 deaths worldwide and countless injuries. In fact, if you type in “dangerous car part” or “defective airbag” into any search engine, you are going to get article after article warning consumers about the life-threatening hazards Takata Corp. airbags create. With an international recall underway and millions of vehicles and airbag inflators recalled, you might have thought that we were all through the worst of this scandal. But you might be wrong.
Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of our home state of Florida recently looked into the scope of the dangers Takata had created and found that more than 170,000 brand new vehicles were rolling off production lines with the very same recalled airbags in them. Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen, in particular, were the top four worst offenders, apparently ignoring all the headlines and conducting business as usual as if nothing happened.
How are Takata Airbags Still a Thing?
Automakers are still using the defective airbags due to a couple legal loopholes. Firstly, the recall is not finalized yet so they can use whatever parts they want in their vehicles. Secondly, evidence suggests that the airbags become dangerous after a few years of exposure to humid and hot conditions; the reckless belief is that no one will be put in danger until the recall targets these new 2016 and 2017 model vehicles.
If that didn’t disappoint you enough, there is more troubling news about the recall process so far. Roughly half of all inflators that have been replaced through the recall – which is still only 2.1 million of the approximate 30+ million required – are being replaced with similar or identical parts. Given a few years or less, the airbags will once again become dangerous.
When all is said and done, things are not playing out in favor of the consumer. Please refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s full list of recalled vehicles – by clicking here – to see if your vehicle might be a danger in waiting. If you have already been hurt in a car accident and you suspect a defective airbag made it worse, call 866.675.4427 to talk to Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC. One of our Stuart personal injury lawyers would be happy to review your case and explain your legal options during a free initial consultation.