Takata Airbag Recall Notification Lacks Urgency From Vehicle Manufacturers

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The Takata airbag recall, considered the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history, affects approximately 34 million vehicles with defective airbags that can spontaneously explode, causing serious injury or death. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represented the family of one of the victims who was tragically killed when a Takata airbag in her rented Honda ruptured and propelled shrapnel into her neck after a minor fender bender.

Despite the potentially deadly consequences to millions of drivers, auto manufacturers are not working as diligently as they should to notify vehicle owners of the defective device that has wounded hundreds of people and claimed 12 lives in the U.S. in incidents as recent as July 2017.

According to a report recently released by John Buretta, an Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program, automakers have replaced only 43 percent of the faulty parts since the recall began.

“While some affected vehicle manufacturers have made meaningful progress in measuring the success of different recall initiatives and making forecasts based on such information many have yet to implement this recommendation,” Mr. Buretta wrote.

The report reveals that the five companies with the best completion rates at the end of October 2017 are Tesla (79 percent) Honda (65 percent), Subaru (50 percent), GM (46 percent), and Toyota (46 percent).

Automakers with the lowest percentage of completed recalls are: Mercedes Benz (2 percent), Mitsubishi (23 percent), Mazda (28 percent), BMW (29 percent) and Fiat Chrysler (30 percent).

The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has acknowledged that “there is still much to be done by all involved.” However, experts like David Friedman, a Consumers Union cars and product policy expert, aren’t impressed with the manufacturers progress and feels more can be done.

“Takata and the auto industry as a whole are not doing enough to protect consumers from deadly, defective airbags, as this report makes clear,” Friedman told Consumer Reports. “Some companies are not taking the issue seriously enough to even take basic steps that their marketing departments use every day to pull in customers.

According to the NHTSA, approximately 46 million defective Takata air bag inflators have been recalled to date and additional air bags are scheduled to be recalled by December 2019, bringing the total number of affected air bags to around 65-70 million.

Watch the NHTSA video below for more information and click here to check if your vehicle is affected by the recall and find out what to do if so.