TAKATA AIRBAG MESS

We have previously written about the airbags in millions of vehicles of all makes and type that are causing personal injury or death.  The airbag inflators can explode with too much force shooting metal and plastic shrapnel at the vehicle’s front seat passengers.

The U.S. Safety Regulators are forcing automakers to speed up the replacing of the defective air bags.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an order forcing automakers to prioritize speed acquisition of parts and fix the vehicles most at risk according to an article in USA Today – The Journal News on December 11, 2015 entitled “U.S. forces Takata recall to speed up” by Nathan Bomey.  The recall will affect 42 million vehicles in the USA totaling 64 – 69 million airbag inflators.  The NHTSA issued a series of deadlines based upon the age of the vehicle, especially older vehicles in hot, humid climates.  The NHTSA released an updated list of vehicles affected by the recall.  All automakers are affected by the recall which could affect one quarter of all vehicles on the road.  The list has added the Tesla Model S electric vehicles.

Exploding airbags have been blamed for at least 11 deaths in the US and at least 184 injuries in foreign countries.  The announcement by the NHTSA is Tkata is in financial crisis and could go bankrupt.  All car manufacturers are still responsible to their consumers and will bear a greater brunt of the economic loss.

On the criminal prosecution of individuals of Takata employees, 3 were indicted by a Detroit Federal Grand Jury.  The employees were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy for concealment of defects in the airbag inflators.  The Takata Corporation has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and to pay $1 billion in criminal penalties according to the Justice Department.  Prior to the indictment of Takata employees, Takata had agreed to pay up to $200 million in civil penalties to the NHTSA.

Takata officials have said according to an article in USA Today – The Journal News on January 14, 2017 by Greg Gardner, the rest of the inflators detonating is greater in states in the South and along the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico where intense heat and humidity occur for long periods.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, January 12, 2017 that Takata is set to pay $850 million as restitution to automakers, devote $125 million to victim compensation Fund and pay $25 million in criminal penalties. This is not over folks.  The FBI is also investigating allegations of company deception to Federal Regulators and tried to cover up the airbag problem.  More to is to be revealed.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a faulty airbag, call the law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800.