NHTSA: 65 Percent of Recalled Takata Airbags Still Not Repaired

There is a potentially deadly defect in the Takata airbag inflators that were recalled between 2008 and 2015. A design or manufacturing defect causes the part to inflate the air bag with far too much force, breaking the surrounding airbag housing. This can cause metal and plastic pieces to shoot through the cabin. So far, at least 16 deaths and 180 injuries have been tied to the defect.

This recall is the largest ever in the auto industry. A total of 46.2 million airbag inflators manufactured by Takata have been recalled so far, out of a total of about 100 million which have been ordered recalled. The defect affects 19 automakers, including Honda, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru, among others.

Last month, Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru agreed to pay the owners of affected vehicles some $553 million in damages over the recall. They also agreed to take active steps to motivate owners to get those repairs made.

Why aren't more of the airbags fixed?

Recently, the U.S. Senate asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the progress on the recall. NHTSA answered that only 15.8 million of the 46.2 million recalled airbag inflators have been repaired. Shockingly, about 8.8 million owners who were sent recall notices were told that no replacement parts were available.

In February, Takata was charged in the U.S. with criminal wrongdoing. It pled guilty and agreed to pay $1 billion toward the resolution of a federal investigation. The company has been searching for financing to pay for all the required replacement costs.

Nevertheless, a Takata spokesperson told Reuters that the company has "dramatically increased" production of the replacement kits. It has shipped more than 26 million kits -- two-thirds of which contain inflators that other manufacturers provided.

Why is that important? Until at least December 2016, Takata was still installing the defective airbag inflators in new cars.

If you have received a recall notice for an airbag or inflator, act immediately. If you have been told there is no replacement kit available, follow up. It isn't convenient, but it could save your life.

If someone you love has been seriously injured or killed in a car crash, it may not be obvious what happened. A faulty car part or an automotive defect may have contributed. Tabor Law Firm is committed to helping you find the answers you need and supporting you throughout the process of filing a legal claim.