Post Halloween note: the federal agency that regulates vehicle safety has ordered the giant airbag supplier Takata to produce its internal documents. Why? Its airbags explode even without an impact and shoot metal shards into the faces and bodies of drivers. Sounds like a nightmare on Elm Street.
Company officials will also have to give sworn testimony about its production, quality control, and knowledge of the defect. This promises to be a bonanza for plaintiff’s attorneys who have — and will — sue the company for producing this deadly product that ironically is designed to protect drivers. My law firm is investigating these cases.
This is good news — unless the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration backs down again.
Five years ago, NHTSA asked Takata and Honda — the car maker with the most airbags from this supplier — to produce information about the defect. Then, suddenly, the government shut down its investigation and the airbags continued to be installed.
Over 14 million cars — most in the U.S. — have been recalled, starting in 2008.
To demonstrate the power of airbags, and in deference to Halloween last night, here is a video of an airbag exploding inside a pumpkin.
But the government has known about this catastrophe since 2000. Multiple lawsuits have been filed after drivers were killed or seriously injured.
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 GM, Takata, and other corporations who produced such lethal vehicles.
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 victims lawyer, I’ll be watching this case closely. Like the GM recalls earlier this year, this one is far from over. Air bags are supposed to protect you from injuries.
If you were injured by a defective air bag or in any other motor vehicle collision, consult with 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.