According to top U.S. auto safety regulators, replacement parts for the potentially defective Takata Corp. airbag inflators may not offer a permanent remedy for vehicle owners. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mark Rosekind, stated that older Takata airbag systems may need to be fixed more than once.
During a June 2 hearing, Rosekind advised the House Commerce and Energy subcommittee in Washington that over 2.4 million pages of Takata documents are still being reviewed by his team, in an effort to determine why certain Takata airbag inflators explode. More parts are being produced to fix over 30 million vehicles from a NHTSA ordered recall last month. New airbag inflators that have already been installed in more than 2 million U.S. cars may not last the life of the vehicle. Rosekind also advised, “Your dealer should be able to tell you if (the replacement part) is an interim remedy or a long-term fix.”
According to NHTSA, Takata’s airbag inflators are prone to rupture prematurely, resulting in dangerous shrapnel hitting the vehicle’s occupants and causing hundreds of injuries. As one of the largest consumer product recalls in U.S. history, which has been connected to 6 deaths to date, The House Commerce and Energy subcommittee is investigating Takata’s problematic airbags. Last month, Takata confirmed that some airbags that have been repaired may already need repairs again.
Consumers and lawmakers are concerned as to when their airbags can be deemed safe again. The number of recalled vehicles has reached nearly 34 million, accounting for approximately 13% of all U.S. cars on the road. Officials are also concerned if the replacement parts will be superior to the original parts, so that similar defects do not arise again in the future. This recall also involves both driver and passenger-side airbags, which is an additional complication, with the total number of affected cars. Since two different types of airbags may need to be replaced, vehicle owners can anticipate more repair visits.
In response, the NHTSA has given support to the Grow America Act, which would allow for a larger budget and broader oversight of vehicle safety defects. It would also allow the NHTSA to enforce a higher penalty maximum—from $35 million to $300 million— against car companies and suppliers for defects. Another public hearing is scheduled to take place this fall by the NHTSA, regarding the Takata airbag issues.
Get Help If You Have Been Injured By A Defective Airbag
Defective motor vehicles endanger the lives of drivers, passengers and others on the road. If you or a loved one have suffered injury or death as the result of a Takata airbag, defective motor vehicle or manufacturing error, it is important that you contact an experienced Orlando Automobile Defect / Product Liability Lawyer immediately. Our experienced team of product liability and accident attorneys can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.