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Expanded Takata Airbag Recall Goes National – New Information

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 29-May-2015

Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has announced that it would double the size of its initial airbag recall, expanding nationally to include 34 million vehicles. The reversal comes after more than ten years of denying any defects, and makes the scandal the largest vehicle recall in history. The move is the latest in the ongoing recall debacle that we have been following for many months.

As an unnamed industry source reported to the New York Times, "There’s no use or gain in fighting the regulators...one Takata management leader explained to me as to why Takata has undergone this shift” explaining that Takata, "via its lawyers, began contacting the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in mid-April."

Takata's defective airbags have been linked to at least 6 deaths and hundreds of injuries around the world. The propellant used in the airbags is believed to react negatively with humidity, causing them to deploy unexpectedly. "The airbags can explode violently when they deploy, sending shrapnel flying into a car's passenger compartment." In recent statement, Takata stated that "older vehicles and those in areas with high humidity will get the highest priority" in the expanded recall.

In conjunction with the company's announcement, auto safety officials in Washington described the recall as "the most complex consumer safety recall in US history," warning that replacements could take years to complete.

With approximately one in seven US vehicles affected, regulators do not know exactly which makes and models of cars have been impacted. As noted by the New York Times, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said compiling a definitive list of which vehicles fall under the sweeping new recall would take several days. That is because Takata's revelation requires 10 automakers to match their own records with Takata's so the list can be drawn up and made public."

So far it is clear that the defective airbags exist in vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. Consumers are advised to visit NHTSA’s site to look up their vehicles on a list of affected cars, even if they haven't yet received a recall notice in the mail.

A small but growing list of specific makes of cars has become available, with Honda announcing that "models including the Civic, Accord and CR-V dating to 2001" are included in the recall.Regulators warn that "that even when consumers learned they needed the fix, it could be months or even years before they could get one." This is despite regulators insisting that targeted cars be given a replacement as soon as possible. Honda, the most heavily impacted car maker thus far, has begun reaching out to other manufacturers in an attempt to speed up the replacement process.

US legislators are working to speed of the investigation and recall as well, scheduling hearings on the recall, and vowing to provide consumers with answers.

Consumers who are concerned about their vehicles are advised to contact their local dealership, follow announcements by their manufacturers, and regularly check for updated information on the recall site created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is important to also note that the defects in Takata's airbags go as far as 2001, and that almost all major car brands on US roadways are affected.

If you have been confused or concerned about this airbag issue, and you suspect that a defective auto part might have played a role in a recent accident or injury, please get in touch with the Washington D.C. auto accident lawyers here at Regan, Zambri & Long to set up a thorough and confidential consultation about your case.

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