The scandal surrounding defective auto airbags manufactured by the Japanese company Takata got worse this week. According to a story just published by the New York Times “Honda Motor Co. said Friday that it would recall 5.7 million cars worldwide in the latest round of recalls involving Takata Corp. air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel into the vehicle.”
The paper reports that about 2.2 million of those vehicles are here in the United States. That’s on top of the 24 million units from Honda and other companies that were already on the recall list in the United States alone – and tens of millions more worldwide. It is a scandal that has only grown over the last year. According to the Times 11 deaths and at least 139 injuries have been inked to the shrapnel-laden airbags..
The latest recall notices came just days after senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut “called on the Obama administration in a letter to force the recall of every Takata airbag that uses a propellant that contains a compound called ammonium nitrate, which can degrade over time and become unstable,” according to a separate Times article published earlier in the week.
Indeed, it is difficult to see at this point why every Takata airbag on the market is not recalled if only for a safety inspection. Such a move would make a great deal of sense, since the one constant throughout this scandal has been that every time Takata and regulators think they have a complete list of the effected cars and trucks the list, sooner or later, grows longer. “We do not need to wait for yet another preventable death to happen,” the senators wrote, according to the Times.
As an Oregon and Washington auto accident victims attorney I believe there is a strong argument for getting ahead of this problem rather than accepting Takata’s incremental approach to the recalls. Each time the list grows it adds to the uncertainty of millions of car and truck owners who wonder whether they will be next and, in the meantime, whether or not their vehicle is safe to drive. It is time to end that uncertainty.
New York Times: Honda’s Latest Airbag Recall to Total 5.7 Million Cars