As many already know, Japanese auto supplier Takata has been under scrutiny in the news for awhile now due to a deadly air bag crisis that has turned into the largest recall in U.S. history – with an astounding 1 in 4 drivers affected by it! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration commented on the recall, “This is the largest recall in American history” with about 28.8 million inflators recalled to repair a defect that can cause air bags to virtually explode during an accident.
These defective airbags have been deemed so dangerous because they are at risk of rupturing violently in a collision, which can hurl fiery shrapnel into drivers and their passengers. About 100 people have been injured by this issue aside from the fatalities that were previously mentioned. All major automakers are affected by the recall to some extent, with nearly one-quarter of all vehicles on the road subject to it even though 8.2 million had already been fixed as of April 22. Due to the recall, Takata agreed to replace the inflators in five phases all the way through December 2019. Along with this, they agreed to pay at least $70 million in penalties and $200 for failure to promptly fix the vehicles and report the defect.
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A determination was also made this week that the issue could be connected to “manufacturing variability,” seeing as some models of vehicles are more likely to have a problem than others. Many believe that Takata is now taking the necessary steps to work through the recall process, even though about two years ago they were avoiding many federal rules regarding defect reporting.
What You Should Know if You Are an Owner
Many people are concerned about whether or not their vehicle is part of the recall. Even if you see your vehicle model on a car list, it could be under recall but it’s also true that it may not be. FCA, Honda and Toyota have all come forth with information that not every car in a listed model year for the recall could actually be under one. The recall will typically be specific to a manufacture date that you will be able to see in the driver’s doorjamb. Many people will also access the recall website at safercar.gov/vinlookup. However, they must be advised that it will generally take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for the VINs to be gathered for the recall, so your vehicle may not appear right away.
As far as ceasing driving your vehicle, the NHTSA advises that you can continue to drive your vehicle as long as you do so safely. An administrator urges that owners can still drive their cars but should always be checking regularly with dealers to ensure that the inflators are fixed on airbags.