Takata, a Japanese parts supplier company, has recalled more than 14 million cars that are equipped with their faulty airbags. These airbags have the potential to explode, injure, and even kill vehicle occupants. Takata has supplied these defective airbags to a number of American, Japanese, and German automakers over several years. Last year, Takata’s automaker clients ordered the largest airbag-related recall in history.
Although the Takata airbag recall has been getting a substantial amount of attention over past week, is has quietly been going on since 2009. Over the last five years 6.5 million Hondas, Toyotas, BMWs, Nissans, and a few other cars equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled. Of those 6.5 million cars, over half of them were Hondas. A spokesman for Takata said the recalls were based on several separate incidents of airbags prematurely deploying and causing significant injuries to vehicle occupants.
There have been two reported deaths caused by Takata’s airbags. Ashley Parham, an 18-year-old Oklahoma all-state cheerleader, was driving through a parking lot when she bumped another car. What seemed like a minor traffic accident turned deadly when her Honda Accord’s eight-year-old Takata airbag exploded out of the steering wheel, ejected shards of metal, and killed Ms. Parham. Only 6 months after Ms. Parham’s death, Gurjjit Rathore, a 33-year-old from Virginia, was in a minor accident when her Honda Accord’s airbag deployed expelling out shrapnel, which severed her blood vessels, causing her to bleed to death.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has suggested a regional recall of these airbags for certain vehicles located in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as they believe high humidity causes the airbags to malfunction. The NHTSA is still investigating whether humidity is the only contributing factor.