The recent attention focused on the auto accident claims stemming from exploding airbags has resulted in the opening of a new investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The air bags in question were all manufactured by the Takata Corporation of Japan and were installed in over 30 million vehicles across the United States by multiple vehicle manufacturers. Many of those automobiles are still on the road in Florida, and now the NHTSA has decided to take further action beyond the previously ordered recall and conduct a full investigation.
The original recall
The airbag issue began in 2014 after several single-car auto accidents occurred in the southern United States and resulted in death or personal injuries to the vehicle occupants. After a thorough inspection, the cause of the crashes came down to exploding airbags even though there had been no impact with another vehicle. Product liability lawsuits were filed against Takata, which then prompted the company to go into total damage control mode. The ultimate result was a recall of the then-known models with the airbag inflators installed, which has now expanded to nearly 20 auto manufacturers globally. Takata later filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
What the investigation may reveal
An article published by The New York Times in 2014 suggested that Takata actually knew the inflators were defective but continued to manufacture the product in the same manner and deliver them as effective. Even with the recall in place and after having already penalized Takata, the NHTSA is opening a new investigation in hopes of setting new standards for airbag inflators as well as securing more financial resources to cover compensation for those who have suffered a personal injury due to the exploding devices.
It is very important for any Florida resident who owns a vehicle on the recall list to have it inspected for airbag replacement. This problem could easily exacerbate in the near future and result in even more accidents and fatalities due to the potentially erupting inflators that can degrade over time in hot weather.