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NHTSA Seeks Evidence in Federal Investigation of Takata Airbag Failures

Posted Gerard C. Kramer on Mar 28, 2015 in Car Accidents

Recall announcements come and go and most are fairly mundane and forgettable. Once people realize that many of the recalls are purely preventative and issued out of an abundance of caution, they replace the parts and go on their way.

Recently, however, one particularly widespread recall struck fear into motorists who own some of the most popular vehicle brands on the road, including Honda, Mazda, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW. Stories of rupturing airbags flooded the news, telling stories of people who were seriously injured or killed when their airbag all but exploded, sending shards of shrapnel everywhere.

With 17 million vehicles affected, not only were there a lot of concerned vehicle owners, there were also concerned service shops. A shortage of replacement airbags from the factory left auto service stations with the option to deactivate the airbag entirely or leave it as-is, which left most consumers more nervous than ever before.

NHTSA Orders Takata to Preserve All Airbags Removed with Recall

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced last month that as part of a federal investigation as well as private litigation investigations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered Takata (the faulty airbag manufacturer) to preserve all airbag inflators that are removed as part of the recall. The company will be required to set aside 10% of all recalled inflators for private investigations, and NHTSA has also laid out strict rules that Takata must follow as the company conducts its own tests:

  • Takata cannot damage or destroy airbag inflator for any purpose other than necessary testing
  • Takata must submit plans for gathering and preserving the inflators to NHTSA
  • Takata must allow NHTSA to conduct its own tests on the inflators if it is deemed necessary

Foxx has placed a premium on protecting the American public from these dangerous airbags, focusing his investigation on finding just what causes this dangerous defect. Concerns with Takata’s failure to report the safety issue have also been met with an investigation and fines as the company continues to dodge NHTSA’s efforts to provide more information.

Have You Been Affected by the Takata Airbag Recall?

While many of the more dangerous rupturing problems seem to lie primarily in the more humid areas of the southeast, this recall has affected some of the most popular car brands today. Have you been affected by this recall? What was the response you received when you brought your car in to be fixed? Share your story in the comment section below, or start a discussion on social media!