Posted by Xiangni Meng.
There have been at least 16 deaths caused by a ruptured Takata air bag inflator worldwide. The first U.S. death report of a Takata inflator is a 17-year-old high school senior, who died in Texas in a moderate speed crash. The most recent death in the United States was confirmed by U.S. safety regulators. A 50-year-old California woman died in a Honda Civic that was first recalled in 2008 because of a defective airbag.
The problem is that “[t]he defective air bag inflators deploy with too much force sending metal fragments flying.” This accident spurned the search and recall for noncompliant vehicles. This deficiency covers more than 60 million air bags in vehicles from BMW, Ford, Honda, Tesla, Toyota, and 12 other corporations. That is one of every five cars on the road in the U.S. The biggest recall could affect more than 100 million vehicles around the world.
Actually, about 11.4 million inflators in the United States have been fixed, while more than 20 million were left unrepaired. Takata spokesman Jared Levy said the “tragedy underscores the importance of replacing those airbag inflators that have been recalled by automakers.” However, owners can be difficult to find. Even Honda has mailed letters, placed Facebook ads, made telephone calls, and in some instances visited owners, but some owners just refuse to get it repaired. “Safety advocates have called for laws banning the sale of any vehicle until recall repairs are made, or a national requirement that recalls be done before license plates can be renewed.” Spokesman Bryan Thomas said, The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t have legal authority to order those recalling steps.
A Senate investigation and personal injury litigation have turned up company documents suggesting that Takata executives ignored their own employees and hid the potential danger from Honda, their biggest customer, as well as from U.S. regulators. It is said Takata is seeking a financial investor to help pay for huge liabilities from the world’s biggest auto recall. Also, Takata could face $200 million fine over faulty airbags.
Xiangni is a marketing major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2017.