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Should airbag maker Takata be forced to quit producing for vehicles?

The worlds of car lovers, vehicle manufacturers, and personal injury attorneys are buzzing with all the news about vehicle airbag manufacturer Takata and their massive list of airbag recalls. With the recent recalls—and, it seems, every couple of months there are more—shouldn’t vehicle manufacturers just stop using Takata?

These recalls are not just affecting one type of vehicle, or one maker even. They are not just affecting a few thousand cars or even a few hundred thousand. Takata’s recalls are affecting millions and millions of vehicles from nearly two dozen different brands. Below you can find a list of the cars involved and information about where to check your specific VIN number.

Usually, when people hear about recalls, they more or less shrug off the information. Unless their baby is rocking in a recalled swing at that exact moment or they’re driving the down road in a car that’s ready to explode, most people don’t get all that concerned. It’s understandable; everyone has a lot going on in their day to day lives.

But this issue with Takata is actually killing people. And it’s not just a few airbags and not that they deploy kind of wonky or possibly not at all. It’s that they could shoot metal fragments—some the size of a half-dollar— at the face of vehicle occupants. This could happen in the more than 34 million cars in the United States and another 7 million overseas that have this airbag issue.

The bad airbags involve defective inflator and propellant devices that may deploy improperly in the event of a crash. Which, as mentioned, may shoot metal fragments into the vehicle occupants.

The worse thing about all this for the great people of Florida? The devices fail more often when—get this—the weather is humid. This is scary news for those of that are sweating while we’re reading this article.

Initially, in April 2013, only six makes of cars were involved in the Takata recall, but a Toyota recall in June 2016 prompted more automakers to start issuing identical recalls. In July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced further recalls in high-humidity areas, including Florida, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Takata has even admitted that it has little clue as to which cars used its defective inflators or even what the underlying cause of the issue really is. So far, there have been 11 Takata-related deaths worldwide not including the US, 10 in the United States itself, and 10 in a Honda altogether. Eight of the ten U.S. deaths involving Takata airbag inflators have involved Honda and Acura models.

According to Takata, they have replaced “more than 70 percent” of the defective inflators, but there are still 313,000 vehicles with the original inflators. These are the ones we know about. As more and more recalls are released, it is more than likely that there are a lot more out there.

It is also possible that both Takata and Honda knew about these issues and failed to tell NHTSA in previous recalls. More about that can be read in the New York Times.

So why are these airbags failing? Takata has some information.

Takata first said that propellant chemicals were mishandled and improperly stored during assembly, which supposedly caused the metal airbag inflators to burst open due to excessive pressure inside. Then, In July of 2016, the company began blaming the humid weather. According to documents reviewed by the credible Reuters, Takata also said that rust, bad welds, and even chewing gum dropped into at least one inflator are also at fault.

These same documents show that in 2002, a Takata plant in Mexico allowed a defect rate that was “six to eight times above” acceptable limits. This means that 60 to 80 airbags were defective for every 1 million airbags they shipped. To some, this may sound high, and to others, not so much. But the simple fact is, they were aware that they were producing faulty equipment at a rate much higher than allowed and continued to do so.

Takata’s failures go all the way back to 2004 when Takata discovered—but did not tell federal regulators—about these dangerous defects in their airbags. This lead to the largest civil penalty against a manufacturer by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The NHTSA order issued to Takata imposed a record civil penalty of $200 million. It also requires the company to phase out the manufacture and sale of inflators that use the certain chemical propellant that is believed to be a factor in the explosive incidents that have caused now hundreds and hundreds of injuries.

These airbags, that are supposed to save lives, are injuring, maiming, and killing instead.

In 2014, CNN Money reported that when police arrived at the scene of a few different crashes involving Takata airbags, they thought that the accident victim had been shot or stabbed. The injuries to their face were so extensive that they were indistinguishable from the wounds left behind by these violent weapons.

People’s bodies and faces have been penetrated, lacerated, their skulls fractured, and their brains concussed, just to name a few of the reported injuries.

With all these injuries and deaths, coupled with the fact that Takata tried to hide this information multiple times, isn’t it about time that their products are no longer used in the manufacturing of vehicles? Shouldn’t the government or a world oversight agency step in and put a stop to this egregious failure to protect the public, both in the US and around the world?

The fact is, if this were anything else, someone would have long ago put a stop to it. Why does the fact that this is happening with airbags in cars—and not say, microwaves or TVs—make it any less outrageous? Even if the chances are very low that your airbag might deploy improperly, why take the chance?

Not to resort to the extreme, but the facts allow some latitude: these airbags are the equivalent of having a loaded gun in your steering wheel, which, may or may not fire at your face. Who would take that chance? And, further, why are auto manufacturers and oversite organizations allowing it?

If your vehicle is on this list, you should immediately take your car to a nearby dealership for them to repair the issue at no cost. If you would prefer, you can look your vehicle up by VIN here.

Vehicles involved in recall

Acura: 2002–2003, 2009–2014 TL; 2003 CL; 2003–2006 MDX; 2005–2012 RL; 2007–2016 RDX; 2009–2011 TSX; 2010–2013 ZDX; 2013–2016 ILX

Audi: 2004–2008 A4; 2005–2011 A6; 2006–2013 A3; 2006–2009 A4 cabriolet; 2009–2012 Q5; 2010–2011 A5 cabriolet; 2015 Q5

BMW: 2000–2011 3-series sedan; 2000–2012 3-series wagon; 2002–2013 3-series coupe and convertible; 2001–2013 M3 coupe and convertible; 2002–2003 5-series and M5; 2003–2004, 2007–2013 X5; 2007–2010 X3; 2008–2013 1-series coupe and convertible; 2008–2011 M3 sedan; 2008–2014 X6; 2013–2015 X1

Buick: 2015 LaCrosse

Cadillac: 2007–2011 Escalade, Escalade EXT, and Escalade ESV; 2015 XTS

Chevrolet: 2007–2011 Silverado 1500, Avalanche, Tahoe, and Suburban; 2007–2011 Silverado HD; 2015 Camaro, Equinox, and Malibu

Chrysler: 2005–2012 300; 2006–2007 Crossfire; 2007–2009 Aspen

Daimler: 2006–2009 Dodge Sprinter 2500 and 3500; 2007–2014 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500

Dodge/Ram: 2003–2008 Ram 1500; 2003–2010 Ram 3500; 2005–2012 Charger; 2005–2010 Magnum; 2005–2011 Dakota; 2004–2009 Durango; 2003–2009 Ram 2500; 2008–2012 Challenger; 2008–2010 Ram 4500 and Ram 5500; 2008–2009 Sterling Bullet 4500 and 5500

Ferrari: 2009–2011 California; 2010–2011 458 Italia

Ford: 2004–2011 Ranger; 2005–2006 GT; 2005–2014 Mustang; 2006–2011 Fusion; 2007–2010 Edge

GMC: 2007–2011 Sierra HD; 2015 Terrain

Honda: 2001–2007 Accord (four-cylinder), 2001–2002 Accord (V-6), 2008–2011 Accord; 2001–2011 Civic; 2002–2011, 2016 CR-V; 2002–2004 Odyssey; 2003–2005 Civic Hybrid; 2003–2011 Element; 2003–2011 Pilot; 2006–2010 Gold Wing motorcycle; 2006–2014 Ridgeline; 2007–2014 Fit; 2010–2011 Accord Crosstour; 2010–2014 FCX Clarity; 2010–2014 Insight; 2011–2015 CR-Z

Infiniti: 2001–2004 I30/I35; 2002–2003 QX4; 2003–2008 FX35/FX45; 2006–2010 M35/M45

Jaguar: 2009–2011 XF Jeep: 2007–2012 Wrangler

Land Rover: 2007–2011 Range Rover

Lexus: 2002–2010 SC430; 2006–2011 IS; 2007–2011 ES; 2010–2011 GX

Lincoln: 2006–2011 Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ; 2007–2010 Lincoln MKX

Mazda: 2003–2011 Mazda 6; 2006–2007 Mazda speed 6; 2004–2011 RX-8; 2004–2006 MPV; 2004–2009 B-series; 2007–2011 CX-7 and CX-9

Mercedes-Benz: 2005–2014 C-class (excluding C55 AMG but including 2009–2011 C63 AMG); 2007–2008 SLK-class; 2007–2014 Sprinter; 2009–2012 GL-class; 2009–2011 M-class, 2009–2012 R-class; 2010–2017 E-class sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible; 2010–2015 GLK-class; 2011–2015 SLS AMG coupe and roadster

Mercury: 2006–2011 Milan

Mitsubishi: 2004–2007 Lancer and Lancer Evolution; 2006–2009 Raider

Nissan: 2001–2003 Maxima; 2002–2004 Pathfinder; 2002–2006 Sentra; 2007–2011 Versa

Pontiac: 2003–2007 Vibe

Saab: 2003–2011 9-3; 2005–2006 9-2X; 2010–2011 9-5 Saturn: 2008–2009 Astra

Scion: 2008–2011 xB

Subaru: 2003–2005, 2009–2011 Legacy and Outback; 2004–2011 Impreza; 2005–2006 Baja; 2006–2011 Tribeca; 2009–2011 Forester

Toyota: 2002–2007 Sequoia; 2003–2011 Corolla and Corolla Matrix; 2003–2006 Tundra; 2004–2005 RAV4; 2006–2011 Yaris; 2010–2011 4Runner; 2011 Sienna

Volkswagen: 2006–2010, 2012–2014 Passat; 2009–2014 CC; 2010–2014 Jetta SportWagen and Golf; 2012–2014 Eos; 2015 Tiguan

(List generated by caranddriver.com)

DOLMAN LAW GROUP

If you were injured due to the presence of a defective part in yours, or another’s, motor vehicle,  contact a product liability attorney immediately. Do not try to determine whose fault each thing was on your own. Your attorney will be familiar with product recalls. You may have been driving a recalled vehicle and not even known it. The chances are very good that you were and could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage.

Dolman Law Group has successfully represented many drivers, passengers, and pedestrians that were harmed due to the presence of defective steering, drive train, braking, and airbags.

Call Dolman Law if you or a loved one were injured or a loved one was lost, for a free consultation at (727) 222-6922.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/st-petersburg-car-accident-attorneys/