The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that it is expanding and accelerating the recall of Takata air bag inflators. The additional estimated 35-40 million inflators adds to the already 28.8 million inflators previously recalled. Takata air bags have been installed in tens of millions of U.S. vehicles and are subject to recall due to a safety defect that may cause their inflators to explode and cause serious injuries or deaths.
The NHTSA’s recent decision to expand and accelerate the recall follows the agency’s confirmation of the root cause behind the inflators’ deadly propensity to rupture. Specifically, the NHTSA and its independent expert reviewed the findings of three independent investigations into the Takata air bag ruptures and confirmed the findings on the root cause of inflator ruptures. According the NTSA’s report, a combination of time, environmental moisture and fluctuating high temperatures contribute to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators. Such degradation can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, rupturing the inflator module and sending shrapnel through the air bag and into the vehicle occupants.
The expanded recall is planned to take place in phases between May 2016 and December 2019. The five recall phases are based on prioritization of risk, determined by the age of the inflators and exposure to high humidity and fluctuating high temperatures that accelerate the degradation of the chemical propellant.
The NHTSA has labeled the Takata air bag recall as “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” In 2015, NHTSA imposed the largest civil penalty in its history for Takata’s violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and for the first time used its authority to accelerate recall repairs to millions of affected vehicles. NHTSA also appointed an Independent Monitor to assess, track and report the company’s compliance with the Consent Order and to oversee the Coordinated Remedy Program.
For more information about the recall, dangers of Takata air bags, or the Takata air bag litigation, contact Borgess Law, LLC at (567) 455-5955. You can also contact Borgess Law, LLC by submitting an online inquiry at www.BorgessLaw.com.