A Japanese supplier of inflator parts used in millions of airbags has come under intense scrutiny over the past six months as to whether it knew about defects in its products that could potentially harm drivers and their passengers. The company, Takata, denies that it had knowledge of the defects. Unfortunately, however, the defective products are now contained in millions of airbags, necessitating a massive recall and leaving too many drivers injured as a result.
Ten Facts About the Takata Airbag Recall
Interested in learning more about this important issue? The following is an overview:
- The airbags are being recalled because they have been shown to contain defective inflator and propellant devices that may deploy improperly in the event of a crash.
- If this happens, metal fragments can be shot directly into vehicle occupants.
- An estimated 17-million vehicles are potentially affected by this issue in the United States.
- Japanese airbag part supplier Takata announced the fault in April of 2013.
- Takata later admitted that it did not know which cars were using its defective inflators.
- Takata further admitted that it did not know the root cause of the defect.
- Major recalls began in the U.S. when Toyota issued a recall in June 2014. This was followed by additional recalls by other manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between July and December.
- Toyota has begun replacing the defective passenger-side inflators. In cases where parts are unavailable, dealers have been advised to disable the airbags and affix “Do Not Sit Here” messages on the vehicle dashboard.
- A report by the New York Times suggests that Takata knew about the airbag issues as far back as 2004. The report alleges that the company conducted secret tests outside of work hours in order to verify the problem. Researchers then began working to find a solution, rather than notifying federal safety regulators and moving forward with fixes. Takata is also accused of destroying the data from these tests. Takata denied these allegations.
- In November and December, automakers, injured motorists, and officials from Takata met for a hearing with Congress. The discussions included how the situation went unaddressed for so long, how it can be fixed, and how it can be prevented in the future.
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