Takata recently expanded the recall of its airbags to 34 million vehicles nationwide, making it the largest recall in U.S. history. It has agreed to replace the driver- and passenger-side airbags at no cost to consumers. In agreeing to the recall, Takata entered into a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) where it acknowledged that a defect exists in its airbag inflators.
NHTSA believes that moisture caused by humidity leaks into the airbag inflator and changes the properties of the chemicals that cause the airbag to inflate. If the airbag inflates with too much force, the canister can explode, sending shards flying at the driver and passengers.
Six fatalities and 100 injuries are associated with Takata airbags. Some of these caused horrific injuries where metal shards punctured the victim’s neck and face.
Essential Facts You Need to Know
Takata has increased production of the new airbags to be replaced. However, given the magnitude of the recall, it could take over a year before all the airbags are replaced. Here are some key facts that can help you determine if your vehicle is covered by the recall:
- Honda has the most affected airbags. Many models by BMW, Acura, Dodge, Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota are also included in the recall.
- If your vehicle is included in the recall, your automaker will send you a written notice. The automakers should also have a recall home page with information on the recall for consumers.
- You can go to NHTSA’s Takata page and use its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) search tool to find out if your vehicle is included in the recall. You will need your vehicle VIN number, which you can find on your vehicle registration and on your dashboard. It is important to check periodically to see if your vehicle is included, because NHTSA is updating its site as it receives information about affected vehicles from automakers.
You will most likely need to be vigilant about getting your airbag replaced if it has been recalled. As time goes on, your dealership should be able to give you a better idea of when they believe your parts will be in and when they can schedule your replacement.
In dealing with this recall, it is important not to lose sight of all the lives airbags have saved in vehicle accidents. These accidents are often caused by a negligent driver. It is very important that an injured motorist contact an experienced personal injury attorney if he is injured in an accident where the airbag also explodes. These cases are more complicated and multiple parties could be liable for compensating the victim.