The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata Corp. to preserve air bag inflators that were removed during the manufacturer’s recall process. The NHTSA wants the evidence kept for both its own probe and for any air bag defect lawsuits. Dozens of injuries and at least five fatalities have been linked to the safety issue.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that NHTSA would upgrade the Takata probe to an engineering analysis. This should help determine the actual cause of the air bag failure, as well as whether Takata refused to tell the government agency about the safety defect and violated safety laws and rules.
In the last seven years, car manufacturers have recalled some 17 million autos because they came with Takata air bags. The safety devices are at risk of rupturing upon deployment, which may cause them to spit out sharp fragments that can lead to serious injury or prove fatal. Just last year, BMW, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda, and Ford issued national recalls over defective Takata air bags located on the driver side of many of their vehicles. Toyota, Subaru, General Motors, Nissan, and Mitsubishi later joined these manufacturers in recalling autos with possibly defective passenger-side air bags. The affected vehicles were located in geographic areas that experience high absolute humidity on a regular basis.
Meantime, Takata is testing the air bag inflators to figure out the extent of the defect and what is causing the ruptures. The tests are being conducted under NHTSA supervision.
Already, thousands of air bags have been tested. However, there appears to be no evidence that the defect that is passenger-side air bags is impacting vehicles in non-high humidity regions.
Please contact our Boston air bag defect lawyer if you or someone you love was seriously injured in a Massachusetts car accident and you think that the vehicle’s air bag malfunctioned, failed to deploy, deployed when it shouldn’t have, or exploded during deployment. Air bag malfunctions can also occur even when the vehicle wasn’t involved in a collision.
Air bags are supposed to protect passengers during a crash and if they fail to do that, the manufacturer, seller, distributor, or others can be held liable for Massachusetts auto products liability.
This week, Honda Motor Co.’s president said he would step down because of the massive recalls its company had to make because of Takata air bags.
Massachusetts Air Bag Defects
Air bag defects also have impacted safety devices made by companies other than Takata. Common air bag safety issues:
• Air bags that deploy too fast and expand too far out into the vehicle
• Airbags that are too big for deployment inside a vehicle
• Air bags that become untethered during deployment
• Airbag that deploy during a low-speed collision, when they should not have gone off at all.
• System failures
• Delayed deployment, usually after impact.
U.S Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces Order to Preserve Defective Takata Air Bag Inflators for Ongoing Federal Investigation, NHTSA, February 25, 2015
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