Despite thousands of Takata airbag recalls and lawsuits linked to severe injuries and fatalities, reports show that many injuries and deaths are still occurring due to airbag failures. Although auto manufacturers have faced increased scrutiny over their handling of airbag recalls in the last few years, reports show that there are still millions of cars on the road with defective airbags that have not been recalled or repaired. According to New York Times reports, there may be as many as ten million cars still on the road with Takata airbags that have not been recalled or repaired.
Despite known airbag ruptures as early as 2004, the first recalls were not issued until 2008, and widespread recalls were not announced until 2014. So far, almost 20 million vehicles with defective airbags have been recalled.
Documented air bag defects have taken many forms and caused a wide range of catastrophic injuries and fatalities. To date, lawsuits have been filed to address a variety of airbag problems such as:
- Sensor problems and other electronic component failures that cause airbags to deploy without impact, or fail to deploy at all in an auto crash.
- Design defects of airbags that cause severe injuries from impact, including catastrophic brain injuries, burn injuries and crush injuries.
- Manufacturing defects that fail to provide adequate warnings that would help drivers to avoid serious airbag injuries and wrongful deaths.
Since 2000, over 54 million ammonium nitrate inflators have been blamed for Takata airbag injuries. However, only 28 million inflators have been recalled, and only 30 percent of the ones recalled have been repaired. Currently, regulators are working to enforce recall standards. In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined Fiat Chrysler $105 million after discovering that they failed to recall vehicles with defective airbags in a timely manner.
According to Randy Taradash, a personal injury lawyer Woodstock, "defective Takata airbags have been found in various model cars manufactured by Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Ford and General Motors. Without proper recalls and repairs, we are likely to see continued injuries and deaths caused by defective airbags."