Takata Corp., the Japanese airbag supplier that has been mired in an extensive airbag recall since 2014, has recently been fined by the U.S. Transportation Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for refusing to recall all of the vehicles that have defective airbags installed.
In November, the NHTSA took a hard stance and demanded that the company issue a nationwide recall for all affected vehicles in America. Takata considered the request and then stated that it was not necessary before outright refusing to issue the national recall.
More than 17 million vehicles have already been recalled for airbag defects, but only 2 million of those have had their airbags replaced. Additionally, there are millions of vehicles that haven't even been recalled. They are still on the road because of Takata's refusal to issue a national recall. The company has insisted that only the cars in hot and humid regions of the country need to be recalled.
Safety advocates have cited evidence from the used car industry to show how cars can end up anywhere in the country. They have argued that a limited regional recall would not actually protect drivers. This argument fell on deaf ears as Takata continued to insist that a national recall was not necessary.
Five automakers announced national recalls on their own. After issuing the first order to recall vehicles nationally, the NHTSA demanded that Takata provide all of the records related to the manufacturing, testing and review of the defective airbag inflators in a second order.
Once again, Takata avoided cooperation. While they provided two million documents, the NHTSA stated that the company's lawyers have been evasive in answering the NHTSA's questions. Until the company fully complies, it will be fined $14,000 a day. Takata is being fined for failing to comply with both orders which carry a maximum penalty of $7,000 per day.
Ten of the worlds largest automakers, including Toyota and Honda and General Motors, among others, have banded together to create a consortium.
In 2014, the auto companies became frustrated with Takatas stonewalling and were unwilling to trust the company's assessment about the safety of its airbag inflators. The auto giants are now independently testing the company's inflators.
They are financing a joint-investigation and have recently hired an aerospace contractor called Orbital ATK to test the inflators. The automakers are concerned about the liability issues involved in the defective airbags, in addition to whether they can continue to trust the worlds largest supplier of airbag components.
At least six deaths have been confirmed in vehicles with Takata airbags. In all six fatalities, the airbag exploded and sent metal shrapnel into the torsos of drivers. The most recent Takata airbag fatality occurred in Texas in January of 2015.
As long as defective airbags continue to be on the roads, more deaths are likely to occur.
Get Help for Your Takata Injuries
Our Takata injury attorneys have been working on the Takata airbag explosion cases since they first came to light.Gordon & Doner trial lawyers have extensive experience handling complex cases involving large companies. Takata and other automotive companies have multiple teams of attorneys representing their interests. They are all trying to reduce their liability.
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With our trusted, personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach on your side, you will level the playing field. If you or someone in your family has suffered an airbag-related injury, do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation. You have nothing to lose and much to gain.