NHTSA and Honda Up the Stakes in Dangerous Takata Airbag Recall
Last year I was alarmed to learn many drivers and passengers were on the road in cars with faulty airbags that could explode in a fender bender and send shrapnel into their faces. I’m alarmed to read that they are still in danger. It may be you.
The reality is millions of car remain on the roads of America with the hazardous airbags, despite massive recalls by car makers. Earlier this month Reuters reported on how U.S. auto safety regulators are now considering “unprecedented steps to speed up the replacement of potentially deadly Takata Corp air bags” in millions of automobiles.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind in a letter dated March 3, told Senator Bill Nelson that the NHTSA has the authority to up the supply of replacement parts by requiring more manufacturers to produce them.
If the NHTSA decides to exercise the right it has under the terms of the National Traffic and Motor Safety Act this would be the first time the agency has done so since it was granted such authority in 2000.
Reuters reported the NHTSA says in excess of 17 million vehicles were manufactured with Takata air bag inflators that may explode and send metal shards into cars. The airbags have been linked to at least six deaths and scores of injuries. Regulators say they have been replaced in fewer than 2 million vehicles, or under 12 percent of those subject to the massive recall that began last year.
Meanwhile Honda Motors which has millions of its cars still under recall but not yet repaired, has announced a major advertising campaign aimed at persuading owners to get them fixed..
The company said its multimedia campaign would involve newspaper, radio and social media ads focused on the 11 US states with the highest humidity and American territories, where the company says it believes the risk is greatest. The airbags are more likely to explode in the humid conditions of states such as Florida and South Carolina. More than 6 million Honda vehicles in the United States have been subject to the Takata recall. As of the beginning of March just 14 percent of the inflaters requiring replacement have been repaired.
The most recent death link to the recall was recorded in Texas in Jan. 2015. The New York Times reported on how Carlos Solis, 35, died on Jan. 18 after his 2002 Honda Accord hit another vehicle in Houston. The driver’s airbag deployed and a piece of metal hit Mr. Solis in the neck, the sheriff’s department report said.
Honda acted as more pressure was brought to bear on Takata on Capitol Hill. The Senate Commerce Committee has sent a letter to the company’s chairman demanding that documents requested by the committee last year be immediately handed over.
A major challenge for consumers dealing with the defective airbag issue has been the lack of available replacements. Many owners have waited for weeks, or even longer, to get the important repair done.
If you have been injured by a faulty airbag or if you have lost a loved one, call our product liability attorneys today at 757.455.0077 or see CooperHurley.com