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Why are Takata Airbags Still on the Road?

March 8, 2015  ·  By HM&M

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The Takata airbag recall has not gotten better in the months since it started. More vehicles have been added to the recall list and more deaths have been linked to defective Takata airbags. A national recall started in November 2014, but Takata is just now apologizing for the deaths and injuries their defective airbags have caused. Is their apology too late for some consumers and automotive companies though?

An apology and deep bow from Takata’s chief executive, Shigehisa Takada, cannot bring back those who have died to their family members or heal the injuries the defective car part has caused many consumers. With the timeline for fixing all the recalled airbags growing with the increase in cars added to the recall, Fiat Chrysler informed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation it will no longer use Takata inflators in replacement of driver’s side airbags in its cars. It is looking at other alternatives to fix the defective part.

The Senate Committee has been going through all the documents Takata gave them and has released a report stating Takata has stopped performing safety audits. In the report, citing internal emails, the committee wrote that Takata may have been able to prevent this recall if it had proper safety and auditing committees in place to check that the correct protocols were being followed. This neglect on Takata’s part that there was no safety committee in place is troubling.

Another troubling point in the report is that Takata is producing replacement inflator parts that may be recalled in the future. The exact cause of the defect is still being questioned, but Takata is continuing to make replacement parts and shipping them to dealerships to be used in recalled vehicles. The report states, “It is best to continue replacing the old, defective inflators as quickly as possible – even though there is a distinct possibility that some of these replacements will eventually also be recalled.”

While Chief Executive Takada has apologized for the deaths and injuries the defective airbags have caused, the company is still producing products that will most likely be recalled in the future. This is still putting consumers at risk who have the inflator replaced because there is still the possibility that the new part is defective. It is not an acceptable solution. It also wastes the time of consumers who have take their vehicle back to the dealership a second time to have another part replaced. Takata should be working to find the cause and fix the problem. It is a product liability and neglect to knowingly replace recalled car parts with ones that may still be recalled later on. A skilled defective car parts lawyer can help consumers understand the legal process and their rights.

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