On June 23, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, BMW, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota announced that they would be issuing regional recalls of certain vehicle models equipped with potentially defective airbags.
Supplied and manufactured by Japans Takata Corporation, the airbags may explode, rather than deploy at normal velocity, potentially shooting metal shards and debris at vehicle occupants.
In light of this information, all seven automakers have announced limited recalls in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Honda has expanded its recall to include Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia.
According to a recent press release from Takata Corporation, regions with exceptionally hot and humid climates may be the culprit for the explosions: the inflator mechanisms seem to explode erratically in these regions.
A Honda spokesman said the company was aware of more than 30 injuries and two deaths in the United States related to all the Takata airbags.
For those who've been affected the consequences were severe.
One such case is that of Kristy Williams, who, in 2010, was severely injured when her airbag deployed while she was stopped at a light in her 2001 Honda Civic.
Williams was hit in the neck and carotid artery when the airbag exploded and suffered strokes and seizures in the years following.
Honda settled with Williams for an undisclosed amount and noted that hers was one of the 30 incidents it considered a catalyst for the recall.
Honda, Mazda and Nissan are collectively recalling approximately 3 million vehicles worldwide.
Currently, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is investigating the issue with Takata.
Takata claims these airbags were manufactured in factories in the U.S. and Mexico during 2000, 2001 and 2002. The company is one of about three that split the market for airbag manufacturing, with a market share of 20%. With such a limited number of suppliers, it is likely that more recalls will be announced as further details about the flawed airbags emerge.
Were you or a loved one injured by a defective vehicle part? If so, you may be eligible for compensation because of the pain and suffering you experienced.