Members of Congress and government regulators raised concerns Thursday over the shortage of replacements for 28 million recalled Takata airbag inflators, saying consumers might first have to replace those defective inflators with potentially risky ones before secondly needing another round of replacements with safer parts.
As of October 2016, over 100 injuries and 16 fatalities have been linked to Takata airbags, and more than 60 million airbags are found to be defective. 28 million airbags are recalled in the U.S. and the recall may potentially expand to even more manufacturers.
Our firm is currently filing lawsuits on behalf of people cut by shrapnel ejected when their Takata airbags were deployed, and had to get stitches. Many victims do not realize that their cuts were actually caused by Takata’s defective airbags, not their accident. If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident in which the airbags were deployed and laceration injuries were sustained that required stitches, please contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a claim.
Following earlier confirmation from government officials that 85 million more inflators need to be recalled, members of a U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade questioned National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head Mark Rosekind about the worrying situation.
During the hearing, Jan Schakowsky, D – Illinois, questioned Rosekind about a recent NHTSA statement that permitted car companies that were unable to acquire a sufficient supply of replacement inflators to continue their “like for like” program, which replaces older defective airbags with newer but identical ones.
Rep. Schakowsky raised the issue out of concern that drivers were still in harm’s way after having a “like for like” replacement, and the inconvenience of a person potentially having to have their vehicle fixed twice.
“Does that mean that the company will be putting a potentially defective airbag into a car with the hope that it is better because it is newer?” asked Rep. Schakowsky.
Rosekind assured the committee that in such cases the airbag inflators were safe, but only temporarily, and that a permanent replacement would still be needed.
“We are only seeing ruptures at seven and a half years, and that is with the other risk factors involved as well,” Rosekind told the committee. “What you are describing is an interim remedy that will provide more safety, but they’re going to have to come back for a second time.”
Rosekind admitted that this is not an ideal situation, but the severe lack of replacement inflators necessitated less than ideal remedies to ensure that drivers remain safe, even just temporarily.
Things could be much worse, according to Rosekind, who held up the agreement NHTSA made with Takata in late 2015 as proof.
“That Order [Coordinated Remedy Order DOT/NHTSA 6], issued to all the affected automakers and to Takata, set Takata recall remedy schedules, accelerating the process by two years or more, while minimizing production and design shortcuts that could create new safety risks,” he said.
However, that agreement came too late for the 11 people in the U.S. who have died and more than 100 people who have been injured by Takata’s defective airbag inflators.
Thus far, the NHTSA agreement has forced 14 automakers to recall about 34 million vehicles involving about 28 million Takata air bag inflators. However, the news that the recall may expand by 85 million inflators raises serious concerns about how car companies will replace all the defective inflators when there is already a severe shortage.
If you have already suffered injuries from Takata’s defective airbags, please be aware that our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are currently filing lawsuits on behalf of injured parties. Some people cut by Takata’s airbags do not realize their injuries were caused by exploding shrapnel from the airbag, though. If you were in a car accident in which your airbag deployed and you sustained cuts or lacerations that needed stitches, the injuries you suffered may have been caused by shrapnel from the airbag, not the accident.
These injuries were preventable, and if you would like to hold the company allegedly responsible for your injuries accountable, fill out a free, no obligation case evaluation form to find out if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.