It is hard to know exactly how large the Takata airbag recall will be before it is all said and done, but it is already the largest automotive recall ever in the United States. In 2016, Florida Senator Bill Nelson told Newsome Melton that he believes there will be at least 250 million defective Takata airbags recalled worldwide, and that there could be millions more beyond that. As of April 2018, the recall involves 19 automakers and at least 50 million defective airbags in U.S. vehicles.
Current Status of Takata Airbag Recalls in the United States
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 37 million vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recall as of April 2018. Because some vehicles could have defective airbags on both the driver and passenger sides, this covers about 50 million individual airbags. The NHTSA says there will be additional airbag recalls announced before December 2019. The total number of airbags recalled in the United States, according to the NHTSA website, could reach as high as 70 million.
The NHTSA is managing the airbag recalls in the United States and has required that automakers announce additional recalled models during 2018 and 2019. They are prioritizing older vehicles and vehicles registered in states with high humidity and warm temperatures. The NHTSA announced in 2016 that these factors play a role in the degradation of the propellant used to deploy the defective airbags. This can cause the metal inflator inside the airbag to explode and scatter shrapnel throughout the interior of the vehicle in an accident.
Takata Airbag Recalls Worldwide
The size and complexity of the Takata airbag recalls are unusual, both in the U.S. and on an international level. As of April 2018, there have been more than 100 million airbags recalled worldwide, according to NBCNews. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection, although it will continue to manufacture replacement parts with a different propellant to repair the recalled airbags.
The Australian government announced compulsory recalls of all affected vehicles in Australia in January 2018. In the recall statement, it pointed toward at least 23 deaths and more than 230 severe injuries worldwide because of defective Takata airbags.
Timeline for the Repair and Replacement of Recalled Takata Airbags
Because of the unprecedented number of airbags covered by these recalls, it has not been easy for drivers to take their vehicles to their local dealerships and get repairs completed in a timely fashion. For several automakers, dealerships and authorized repair centers now have access to the parts they need to repair or replace airbags, but this has not been the case throughout the recall process.
According to the NHTSA, it is learning important lessons on how it can help automakers repair recalled vehicles in a fast and effective way during future recalls. Still, the NHTSA expects to continue coordinating recalls through at least December 2019 and understands it may take years beyond that to get all recalled airbags off the roads in the United States.
Many unrecalled airbags, and some airbag replacements, contain a drying agent, called a desiccant, which prevents their propellant from becoming unstable over time. The NHTSA gave Takata until December 2019 to prove their desiccated airbags are safe, or else they will need to recall them as well. Takata recalled the first airbags with a desiccant in July 2017.
Take Action If You Receive a Recall Notice for Your Airbags
We recommend having your airbag repaired or replaced as soon as possible if there is an open recall on your vehicle. If the parts are not available or there is no available appointment at your local dealership, you may want to ask for a rental car or visit another authorized repair facility. These airbags can be especially dangerous in an accident.
Those who drive older cars and live in humid climates need to act quickly, because age and humidity are known factors for causing airbag inflator ruptures during deployment. All replacements are free, and many automakers are offering free loaner cars while they work on your vehicle.
Talk to an Attorney If You Believe You Suffered Injuries from a Recalled Airbag
If you suffered injuries in a car accident and believe a recalled airbag may have played a role, a defective airbags lawyer from Newsome Melton may be able to help you hold the automaker and airbag manufacturer liable. We can help if you suffered injuries because of a defective airbag. We offer free case evaluations and can fight for compensation on your behalf if we believe you have a viable case.
Call us today at 888-808-5977 to learn more.