Honda announced it is adding nearly 105,000 more vehicles to the recall list it began last year over reports of potentially deadly airbags. The automaker's recall now includes 5.5 millions vehicles sold under the Honda or Acura brands in the United States. Ten other auto manufacturers have also been forced to recall a combined 11.5 million vehicles equipped with possibly defective airbags, all products of the same auto parts supplier.
In October 2014, 11 automakers announced the recall of more than 14 million vehicle sold with airbags manufactured by Japanese part maker Takata. Less than month later, The New York Times carried a report that Takata was aware nearly ten years ago that some of the company's airbags could possibly explode, putting a driver at risk from flying metal debris. The report claims that rather than notifying safety officials, Takata tested potential fixes and redesigns, then scrapped the program and scrubbed the data. Regulatory filings from the company do not acknowledge any such testing until 2008, when the first airbag rupture-related recall was initiated.
The recall was expanded nationally over the next several months, with Ford adding an nearly half a million vehicles in mid-December. In January, the death of a Honda Accord driver was reported to have been the result of the defective airbag inflator, potentially bringing the total related fatality count to five. With more than 100 injuries linked to the airbags, and the manufacturer's lack of cooperation, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration fined Takata $14,000 per day until the issue can be resolved.
Potential Dangers to Drivers
The apparent flaw in the airbags is that deterioration of the chemical propellant, which under ideal circumstances combusts with enough force to inflate the airbag quickly, can lead to higher-energy explosions. If the airbag inflator's metal housing is damaged or ruptured by the combustive deployment of the airbag, pieces of the housing can be propelled into the vehicle severely injuring the driver. High-priority engineering tests are ongoing in an effort to ensure that the replacement airbags installed via the recall will be have similar potential defects.
Liability for Defective Products
Automakers and parts manufacturers have an obligation to make sure the products they sell do not represent a danger to the consumers who buy them. The apparent prior knowledge of design problems means that the company should be held responsible not only for the fixing the recalled vehicles, but also for any resulting deaths or injuries. Negligent manufacturers must be held accountable for their action, or inaction as the case may be.
If you have been injured by a defective airbag related to this recall, or any other defective auto product, you may be entitled to collect damages from the manufacturer. Contact an experienced Chicago, Illinois product liability attorney today at the law office of [[title]] today. Our team is equipped to aggressively pursue every entitlement the law provides.”