As we mentioned in a post back in September, 2014 has been a record year for auto recalls. And the year isn’t over yet. Approximately 14.3 million automobiles from ten different manufacturers have now been recalled for faulty air bags manufactured by Takata.
The air bags, which were installed in vehicles from 2000-2011, may explode when they inflate. The force of the explosion may shatter the air bag container, sending metal and plastic shrapnel into the driver and passenger. The problem has been linked to propellant chemicals in the air bag, and may be aggravated in high-humidity climates. As a result, there have been more widespread recalls in high-humidity areas, including Georgia. So far there have been five fatalities and over 100 injures attributed to the defective air bags. The most recent death, which sparked a new wave of recalls, was of a pregnant woman in Malaysia.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging owners of the affected vehicles, which include cars by Honda, Toyota, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, to act on the recalls. Car owners that have been contacted by their cars’ manufacturers should make repair arrangements with local dealerships. Consumers who have not been contacted and are concerned that their vehicles may be affected can check by their vehicle identification number (VIN) here.
Even if all the owners take their vehicles in for repair, there remains the problem that there are not enough replacement air bags available. Some manufacturers have recommended that in the meantime, dealers disable the passenger seat air bag and tell consumers not to sit there. However, as the defective air bags have been found on both the driver’s and passenger’s side, it is unclear how well this temporary solution will work.
Multiple class action lawsuits have been filed against Takata and some of the car manufacturers involved in the recalls. Undoubtedly, more are to come. If you have been injured in acar accidentas a result of a faulty air bag, you can contact the experienced attorneys at Katz Stepp Wright & Fleming for help.