This week lawyers claimed in a class action suit in Miami that four major automobile manufacturers knew the airbags they bought from Takata Corporation were dangerous but they continued to install them anyway.
The internal company documents allegedly show that Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and possibly BMW knew the bags were lethal but wanted to save a few dollars each on their expensive vehicles.
As a result, at least 11 people have been killed, two from Texas, and over 100 people have been injured, many seriously, after their airbags ruptured. Shards of metal were shot into drivers and passengers when canisters with dangerous gases overheated and inflaters exploded..
Wait, aren’t airbags supposed to prevent injuries?
A whopping 42 million vehicles made by 10 manufacturers are ticking time bombs. Removing them has caused the biggest recall in the history of the country, bigger than the
On its web site Takata “apologizes for the widespread concern and inconvenience caused as a result of our inflators.”
On Monday, Takata plead guilty to criminal charges, almost unheard of for a corporation. It also agreed to pay an enormous $1 billion dollar fine.
By comparison, Volkswagen was just fined $4.3 billion, General Motors was fined $900 million and set up an additional $600 million fund to repay victims, and Toyota was fined $1.2 billion as a result of scandals involving emissions cheating, engines that wouldn’t turn off, and engines which suddenly accelerated by themselves.
In addition, three company executives were indicted on criminal charges in January.
One severely injured person, Utah resident Randi Johnston, age 26, attended the hearing in Miami where a federal judge ordered that most of the one billion dollars will go to pay the recall expenses. Ms. Johnston, whose vocal cords were shattered by projectile metal and can only whisper, said that she was stunned by the judge’s decision.
What Should You Do?
Millions of people are still driving around in these “killing weapons,” as even an automaker’s representative called them. About 70 million airbags are defective. Your vehicle very likely has these airbags inside and you haven’t been notified of the recall, or you did and haven’t gotten around to taking it in to the dealer.
Please check out this web site immediately to see if your vehicle is on the list: information
Also, many people buy used cars, including the family of a 17-year-old Texan named Huma Harif who was killed last year by an exploding airbag in a Civic. While Honda claims it notified all owners, the used car lot never told the family about the recall, which is legal. A new law requires every rental car company to repair all recalled vehicles, but it somehow exempts used car dealers.
The Takata lawsuit is Multi District Litigation number 2599, filed in U. S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.