Takata Destroyed Incriminating Evidence Over A Decade Ago
It was just revealed by The New York Times that the major Japanese airbag maker Takata knew 10 years ago that one of its airbags had ruptured and shot metal debris at an Alabama driver, seriously injuring him. After trying to fix the problem, company officials instead ordered lab technicians to destroy the testing data and damning evidence.
Since that time, exploding airbags have killed at least four people and seriously injured at least 139 drivers.. A man was killed last year in a Los Angeles parking lot when his shrapnel shot out from the airbag inside his Acura. The case was quietly settled out of court for a confidential sum.
Takata finally started recalling its defective airbags in 2008 and 14 million of them have been recalled by 11 carmakers since then. The Japanese company has said that high humidity is the culprit, but The Times found that forklifts had fallen over and damaged crates, Mexican manufacturing plants had employed substandard techniques, and defective airbags were knowingly sold to carmakers.
In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began to investigate but suddenly and without any reason closed its files without taking any action. The federal agency has once again begun to investigate. The only reason NHTSA finally got around to taking any action is the debacle from the GM vehicle ignition switch and many other snafus that have forced Congress to investigate the agency for its massive incompetence. And it no doubt is feeling the pressure of federal prosecutors across the country announcing they will consider filing criminal charges against Takata, GM, and other corporations who have concealed their defects.
Last week the government agency issued a rare public warning telling drivers to “act immediately” and have their cars fixed. However, neither Takata nor automakers like Honda and Toyota have enough parts to repair the millions of defective vehicles, leaving millions of drivers with cars that could maim or even kiill them. As a Texas car accident lawyer, I am appalled at the corporate deception. It goes without saying that air bags are supposed to protect you from injuries, not kill you.
If you were injured by a defective air bag or in any other motor vehicle collision, consult with Bill Berenson Injury Law about how you can recover your damages. Call our Board Certified personal injury attorney at 817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 or send us an email to schedule your free first consultation.