The automotive defects recall of Takata air bags has expanded once again. If your vehicle was not among the models affected before, you need to check into this issue again.
In the last several days, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru added 715,000 cars and trucks to what was already the largest auto safety recall in history. According to the New York Times, that number could continue to grow. This is because the Mazda and Subaru recalls, to date, only cover models sold in Japan.
A week earlier, Toyota, Honda and Nissan recalled 11.5 million more vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported on May 19 that Takata agreed to a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators. In the past, Takata has been uncooperative with U.S. regulators.
This expansion of the recall includes vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota, the NHTSA explains elsewhere.
“The actions expand regional recalls of Takata passenger-side inflators, currently limited to areas of high absolute humidity, to nationwide recalls involving more than 16 million vehicles,” the NHTSA news release states. “They also expand the current nationwide recall of driver-side inflators to more than 17 million vehicles.”
Defect Causes Air Bags to Violently Erupt
The air bags made by the Japanese firm Takata have been recalled because of a defect that can cause the air bags to rupture violently when they deploy and shoot metal fragments from their casings into the vehicle’s passenger area.
The propellant used to inflate air bags can degrade over time, particularly in humid climates, which makes it prone to “overaggressive combustion,” according to Takata. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the problem.
If you are having trouble keeping track of the numbers, you are not alone. On a special website dedicated to the Takata air bag recall, the NHTSA puts the total number of vehicles recalled at “nearly 34 million.”
What is most important is the status of your vehicle.
Fortunately, the NHTSA has established a website, www.SaferCar.gov/RecallsSpotlight, to provide regular updates on the status of this and other recalls and of the NHTSA’s investigation into the Takata air bag issue.
Unfortunately, the NHTSA also states that, as of May 19, it is “waiting for the automakers to supply a complete list of affected vehicles.”
If you are concerned about your car, you can consult the NHTSA’s recall search engine. Your search requires you to provide the vehicle identification number (VIN) from your car. You can find the VIN on your vehicle registration card or on the far left-hand corner of the dashboard, where it should be readable through the windshield. The NHTSA VIN search tool works for all U.S. vehicle recalls — not just vehicles with defective air bags.
The NHTSA search engine site contains this notice:
“If you are checking to see if your vehicle is affected by the Takata air bag recalls, it generally takes anywhere from a few days to several weeks for automakers to gather individual VINs associated with a recall. It is important that you check back periodically as a recall on your vehicle may not show up immediately.”
Also, because of the volume of the recall, you may not be able to do anything about it for some time to come. Reuters reports that it could take two years to manufacture, distribute and install all of the necessary replacement parts.
In the meantime, there is not much you can do about the danger posed by your car’s defective air bag. The safest option is to not drive the vehicle. However, for most people, this is no option at all.
We are staying on top of the Takata air bag recall and its impact on Florida at the law firm of Frank M. Eidson, P.A.
Please return to this blog for further updates or contact us if we can help you with questions about your vehicle’s status. If you or a loved one has been injured by an air bag malfunction of any kind, please call or reach us online as soon as possible for a free consultation about the legal options you may have.