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NHTSA urges air bag maker to do more

Tennessee residents who own a 2013 or 2014 Nissan or General Motors car or truck may have faulty, and potentially dangerous, air bags in their vehicle. The two manufacturers have sent out over 30,000 recall notices to customers who own vehicles with air bags made by Takata Corp. More than 17 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide since 2008 because deploying air bags could eject metal shards into the passenger cabin. The National Highway Traffic Safety Board says that they know of four deaths related to the issue.

NHTSA is also putting pressure on Takata to take all reasonable steps to produce replacement canisters for the air bags in question. The Japanese auto parts maker manufactured the air bags in Mexico between 2008 and 2014. The company appears to be doing what they can to cooperate with NHTSA, and two additional production lines have opened in an attempt to keep up with the demand for air bag parts.

However, an Oct. 31 statement from NHTSA indicated that the additional production would likely not be sufficient to address the problem in a timely manner, and the agency has urged Takata to source the needed parts from other air bag manufacturers. Auto makers have been asked to prioritize the recalls in humid areas where the deterioration of the air bags would be expected to occur at an accelerated rate.

Consumers may have civil remedies available to them when they suffer injury, loss or damage due to a faulty product, and this could be especially true if the manufacturer has not taken all reasonable steps to address the issue and warn customers about the potential danger. An attorney with experience in product liability cases may be able to advise those injured by a defective product about the steps involved in pursuing a lawsuit.

Source: Reuters, “Takata discloses air bags with a new flaw were made from 2008-2014,” Paul Lienert, Nov. 1, 2014

Source: USA Today, “Takata pressured to speed up air bag recalls”, Chris Woodyard, October 30, 2014

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