Millions of faulty Takata air bags are still in vehicles

Most everyone is familiar with the Takata air bag recall. Approximately 30 million vehicles made by 19 auto manufacturers were recalled for defective inflators that could cause the bags to explode and spew metal pieces out at drivers and passengers. The defective air bags have injured approximately 300 people and killed at least 22 people around the world (15 in the U.S.)

In a deal reached last year with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Takata agreed to pay $1 billion and plead guilty to one count of wire fraud, which is a felony. The company is also being overseen for three years by an independent monitor

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that a dozen automakers have not yet completed the repairs that were supposed to be completed last December. These include Toyota, Honda, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. According to NHTSA, less than two-thirds of the 20 million repairs designated as high priority have been made.

The failure to complete the repairs has attracted the attention of members of Congress who have criticized NHTSA for not doing enough to get the faulty air bags out of vehicles. Following a Senate hearing this year on the issue, Sen. Bill Nelson, the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, noted that "we still have a huge problem with getting these dangerous airbags replaced and off our highways."

Most recalls don't get the public attention that the Takata one has. However, it's essential for all consumers to keep tabs of recalls on their vehicles and to have the necessary repairs made as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes the only way that automakers and consumers learn about auto defects is when someone is injured or killed. That's just one reason why it's essential for victims of potential auto defects and their loved ones to seek legal guidance.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. safety agency demands meetings with automakers on Takata recall," David Shepardson, May 14, 2018

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