Faulty airbags are the focus of a recent recall issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This brings the total number of vehicles recalled over the issue to more than 14 million by 11 different auto manufacturers since 2000. The faulty airbags, which were made by the company Takada, have been an ongoing issue since as early as 2000. Although this recall did not receive as much attention as the General Motors ignition switch recall earlier this year, the total number of vehicles is more than five times the number recalled by General Motors.
Takada Airbag Recall – The Facts
The faulty airbags were recalled because, in certain instances, they can rupture and shoot out metal fragments, which can injure or kill the driver. This is what happened in 2009 to Gurjit Rathore. The 33-year-old mother was driving a Honda Accord with her three children as passengers when she collided with a mail truck in Richmond, Virginia. Her air bag exploded, cutting her chest and neck and killing her. One other death and 169 injuries have been linked to the issue so far.
Manufacturers whose vehicles were recalled include:
- General Motors
According to Forbes Magazine, Takada is claiming that only high humidity will cause the airbags to malfunction. This is why the most recent recall only affects vehicles in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Does the Issue Affect Maryland?
The most recent recall does not directly affect vehicles in Maryland. However, the airbag defect can potentially injure drivers nationwide, including Maryland residents.
Forbes noted that injuries relating to the airbags occurred in many states, not just the humid states that are subject to the recall. For example, the two deaths related to the issue occurred in Virginia and Oklahoma, and the first reported injury occurred in Alabama. Another recent injury occurred in California. Yet vehicles in these states are not subject to the most recent recall.
The current airbag recall only affects vehicles “located in” Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This raises concerns for Maryland residents who live in Maryland for part of the year and Hawaii for the other part. The issue could also affect Maryland residents who purchase a used vehicle that was owned or operated in one of these humid areas.
So far, personal injury lawsuits relating to the issue have settled or are pending. The family of Gurjit Rathore, the Richmond resident tragically killed by a defective airbag, settled with Honda for $3 million. Earlier in 2014, a lawsuit filed by Brandi Owens, a Georgia woman whose airbag ruptured and left her blind in one eye, led to the recall of 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze sedans.