In February 2023, 145,000 cans of Enfamil ProSobee Baby Formula were voluntarily recalled because of the possibility of being cross-contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii, a type of bacteria known to cause serious, life-threatening infections. […]
A few years ago, rumors arose that one of the largest manufacturers of airbags, the Japanese company Takata, had been producing defective airbags for as long as a decade. While many automobile companies have now issued recalls for about 17 million vehicles affected by the Takata airbags, yesterday Takata buckled under pressure from federal regulators and declared that nearly 34 million vehicles (almost twice as many had already been recalled) in the United State are equipped with defective airbags that can explode and shoot shrapnel upon deployment.
Now, everyone wants to know whether or not their car is affected by the Takata airbag recall. So much so that the NHTSA’s auto recall website has been overloaded with recall queries in the past 24 hours.
This recall is the largest automotive recall in American history, with ~34 million cars affected. Moreover, this recall is believed to be the largest single consumer product recall in our nation’s history. To put this in perspective, that’s 1 out of every 7 cars on the road today. Honda is the most affected car company, and the company is looking to find other manufacturers to produce their airbags going forward.
Also affected by the announcement are Nissan, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, General Motors, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Lexus, and Toyota.
The recall specifically affects the passenger and driver-side airbag inflators. 16.6 million cars were previously recalled for the same issue, and this recall is viewed as an expansion of those previous regional and national recalls.
Prior to this recall, the largest automotive recall in history had occurred in 1981 when 21 million Ford vehicles were recalled for faulty parking gear.
Takata has been producing defective inflators for more than ten years and some engineers realized there could be a problem with them a decade ago. Former Takata engineers expressed concern over the formula used in the inflators, yet their concerns went unheard. Further, leaks make the propellant even more volatile and although Takata now admits that such leaks exist, a former Takata consultant, George Neff, has revealed that he recommended the company use different leak testing methods back in the early 2000s, yet Takata ignored his recommendations:
“We found a lot of leakers… I told them that I thought their leak-test methods were crude,” Mr. Neff said. “In a period of a year or two years or certainly five years, those devices could reach 100 percent equilibrium with the environment around them.”
Takata is not the only one taking heat for this mistake, though. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could have discovered this problem a decade ago. But Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center of Auto Safety believes he knows why the problem was allowed to persist: “NHTSA didn’t pay enough attention to Takata.”
Right now, the manufacturer recommends that everyone keep driving their cars, but urge drivers to check with their dealership to see if their cars are affected by the recall. However, it could take a very long time for all the repairs to be completed because of the scale of the recall. Initially, there will not be enough parts to repair all of the affected cars, so it will may likely take years to complete all the repairs.
The danger arises primarily when the propellant in the inflaters degrades over time due to humidity and changes in temperature. When this propellant degrades, it becomes prone to “overagressive combustion.” When this happens, a metal canister in the airbag can explode, sending shards of shrapnel into the car.
The propellant used in the initial set of inflators was apparently susceptible to humidity. According to Bloomberg, Takata secretly changed the propellant in 2008 – around the same time as Honda’s first airbag recall.
So far, six deaths have resulted from these manufacturing defects, all involving Honda manufactured vehicles.
Below is the most recent list of vehicles affected by the recall. Note that this list is not official as the NHTSA is waiting on manufacturers to provide a complete list of affected vehicles. The NHTSA’s communication director, Gordon Trowbridge, said that “Until the auto companies are able to process the information from Takata’s filings yesterday, (NHTSA) will not have VIN data that reflects these expanded recalls… We expect to have that data sometime next week.”
We will continue to update this list as more information becomes available.
2525 McKinnon Street #550 Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: (214) 651-6100
Note: The information that was utilized in this post was gathered from the use of secondary sources. This information used has not been confirmed or independently verified. If you locate any information that is not correct, please contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate corrections. If you find any information that is false, we will remove or correct the post immediately after it is brought to our attention.
Disclaimer: As a valued member of the Dallas community, Rasansky Law Firm’s goal is to improve the safety of all residents in the great state of Texas. These posts should not be viewed as a solicitation for business and the information included herein should not be taken as medical or legal advice. The photos used in this post are not representative of the actual crash scene.
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