Takata airbag inflator concerns have resulted in a nationwide recall, but it hasn’t progressed as well as it should. See why and who has begun to push harder.

Following 10th Death, Explosive Takata Airbag Recall Expands

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The nationwide recall of Takata-manufactured airbags and the delays and setbacks related to the recall have drawn the attention of members of Congress. 

The initial concern over the Takata-made inflators’ potential to explode and release dangerous shrapnel was first noted in November of 2014. Over the past two years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged Takata and car manufacturers alike to recall vehicle models that may have the defective part. Unfortunately, this two-year overhaul hasn’t been as effective as it was hoped.

Initial Projections Fall Short, Raising Recall Demands

The initial recall predicted that six million vehicles in the United States were potentially affected and may have required a replacement airbag. These affected vehicles were thought to have been contained within certain models of vehicles produced by Toyota, Ford, Mitsubishi, and GM. However, as of February 2016, the recall has expanded to include 14 different automakers with a low estimate of 50 million vehicles needing to be recalled.

In addition to the inclusion of more manufacturers, continued investigations have also shown the following setbacks:

  • Increased injuries. More than 100 injuries have been reported as a result of the defect.
  • Increased concern. Investigations found that over 54 million potentially defective inflators were shipped by Takata to the U.S. over the past decade.
  • Increased containment. Affected model years have gone from including models made from 2003 to 2008 to including models made as recently as 2014.
  • Expanded time frame for completion. Current projections estimate the recall may not be fully completed for another two years as it has taken a year and a half to recall 24 million vehicles with the potential is for another 30 million vehicles.

Congressional Intervention

As a result of the increased concern, Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut (D) and Edward Markey of Massachusetts (D) have called on the Obama administration to force an accelerated recall of every single Takata-manufactured airbag that has been installed in the U.S.—not just the ones that are shown to have defects. “We do not need to wait for yet another preventable death to happen in order to recall the remaining population of vehicles containing ammonium nitrate-propelled airbags,” the senators wrote in a letter to the White House.

It remains to be seen if the White House will put its support behind the suggested recall expansion. However, the safety issue remains the same, and if the defective airbags are not replaced, the potential for more injuries and deaths remains high.

Category: Car Accidents


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