NHTSA today announced that is has expanded its recall of cars with Takata airbags to 33.8 million vehicles across 11 auto manufacturers. Takata has also finally agreed to declare them defective, and has entered into an agreement that it will cooperate fully with all NHTSA actions, testing of remedies, and notifications.
“The admission made by Takata today, after months of well-placed pressure from NHTSA, that it made “defective” airbag inflators has been a long time coming,” said Hank Didier, founder of Didier Law Firm and lead attorney for the family of Hien Tran, who was fatally injured by a Takata airbag. “We can only hope that their admission equates to truly taking responsibility for those they have already harmed and to finally fully cooperating with NHTSA to protect the consumers driving the 33.8 million cars now covered by the new expanded recalls.”
NHTSA declared this the “most complex safety recall in U.S. history, and possibly one of largest in ALL of consumer recalls.” Over the past several months, Takata has been uncooperative, forcing NHTSA to impose a $14,000 per day penalty on the company until it better cooperated with documents it had handed over to NHTSA. Those fines have added up to $1 million so far, and have been suspended as of today due to Takata’s newfound cooperation.
NHTSA’s current recommendation to drivers of potentially recalled vehicles is to immediately check the VIN on their recall website, take it to the local dealership for replacement part. Current replacements are “safer” but “not sure they are safe for the long term.” Drivers may have to go back in for a second replacement at a later date.