Massive airbag recall under pressure

Motorists in Washington may be interested in a letter sent by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to a manufacturer on Oct. 29. So far, two deaths have been attributed to defective airbags manufactured by Takata, an automotive supplier. In the letter, NHTSA officials issue orders and inquire about the company’s ability to expedite the current recall involving airbags in 7.78 million vehicles. The NHTSA has already contacted auto manufacturers and expressed interest in enlisting other suppliers to expedite the process.

The pace of the recall depends on having enough replacement parts available. There have been reports of defective airbags propelling metal and plastic shrapnel at passengers as they deploy during a collision. In the letter, the NHTSA Deputy Administrator inquires about the number of replacement canisters Takata can produce, how much the rate of production can be increased and the quality of controls in place. The NHTSA also ordered Takata to improve their testing procedures for identifying defective airbags.

The NHTSA has already requested that auto manufacturers expedite their own recall notification campaigns. The NHTSA is requesting these manufactures develop innovative strategies for getting their customers to bring their vehicles into local dealers to get the defective airbag component replaced.

Anyone who suffers an injury because of a defective product might benefit from legal counsel that may be able to investigate the incident and help determine which parties could be held liable for damages. Plaintiffs in these cases may be entitled to receive restitution to help compensate for economic or non-economic hardships caused by the defect. If the defendant is found to be negligent, plaintiffs may be compensated for loss of income, repair costs and medical expenses resulting from the defect.

Source: USA Today, “Takata pressured to speed up air bag recalls“, Chris Woodyard, October 30, 2014