Agency Expands and Accelerates Takata Air Bag Inflator Recall

Takata, the manufacturer of defective air bags that have killed ten persons and injured hundreds of others, has been ordered to make safety defect judgment calls to aid car companies in their recall drive for an extra 35 to 40 million more inflators, in addition to the first order of 28.8 million.

The order was contained in an Amended Consent Order issued by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency has confirmed the cause for the inflator’s tendency to burst, and all air bags installed on driver and front passenger areas with ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a drying agent will be recalled. The recall expansions will be done in phases scheduled from May 2016 to December 2019.

There are five recall phases to be based on priority of risk. The inflators’ age along with its location’s humidity level and high temperatures are factors that speed up the inflators’ malfunction potential. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the advancement of the recall is based on scientific evidence, and is solidly aimed at protecting all citizens from air bags that may rupture.

NHTSA has reviewed the studies done by three impartial investigations on the Takata air bag explosions and have confirmed their conclusions. A combination of the inflator’s age, moisture in the environment, and constantly fluctuating high temperatures help to hasten the deterioration of the chemical propellant causing it to ignite and burst, sending metal pieces into the vehicles and injuring the occupants. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind says the expanded recall will take place before the inflators become dangerous, so that car owners have sufficient time to get their air bag inflators replaced.

Defective airbags that have ruptured in car crashes and injured or killed a driver or passenger can claim for damages from the concerned entities, either the car company or the air bag maker, says accident injury lawyers in Fort Worth. Legal counsel is important to ensure that claimants get the maximum compensation that they are entitled to for their damages.