MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. A recent investigative report by the New York Times into automakers’ decisions to use Takata’s airbags reveals how the quest to save a few dollars, resulted in injuries, deaths, and the largest recall in the automotive industry.
G.M. for instance, had been using a Swedish-American company Autoliv to supply the company with its airbags, when Takata approached them, offering them a cheaper airbag. G.M. asked Autoliv to match Takata price, but when the company studied Takata’s airbags, they found that the airbags relied on a dangerous inflator compound. Autoliv refused to change its design. G.M. went with Takata. And, the rest, is history.
As a result of Takata’s use of the compound that Autoliv warned about, 14 people have died, and countless others have been injured. Some victims and families have sued the companies. If you believe you have been affected, visit www.martinmontilino.com to learn more about your rights. More than 64 million cars have been recalled due to the defective airbag. The decision-making process on the part of automakers reveals a pattern where public safety was compromised in the effort to shave a few dollars off the cost of manufacturing each vehicle. While some automakers have claimed that they were victims of Takata’s poor design, reports reveal that automakers put pressure on Takata and other airbag manufacturers to lower costs.
Most alarmingly, the dangerous compound used in Takata’s inflators is still being used. Airbags with the compound appear in 2016 model cars. Despite research suggesting the dangers of the compound, automakers continue to work with Takata because the company offers lower cost airbag inflators. The compound, ammonium nitrate, has had workers concerned since the 1990s, with inflators exploding in testing conditions. In fact, Takata even had difficulty acquiring ammonium nitrate due to the liability risk of transporting the chemical due to the explosion risk. Other reports indicate that tests of the inflators were manipulated to hide deficiencies in the airbags.
Another New York Times Takata article notes that not all ammonium nitrate airbags have been recalled. Only airbags without a drying agent have been recalled. Yet, it isn’t clear whether the dying agent is effective and it is possible that airbags that use the drying agent may also be recalled in the future. Because so many model vehicles are affected, it is wise to check your VIN against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database of recalled vehicles. The VIN number can be found on the driver’s side dashboard, on the rear inside wheel well, under the hood, or on the driver’s side door jamb of your car. If your car has been recalled, you can take it to your dealer to get the airbag replaced free of charge.
Yet, for those who have to wait for replacement parts, every time they get behind the wheel, they are at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile due to defective parts or due to a car accident, a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota may be able to assist you in getting a recovery to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino offers compassionate and caring counsel to personal injury victims.