Federal Investigation into Takata Airbags Expanded
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Aug 27, 2015 in Product Liability
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded its investigation of Takata Corp., a Japanese airbag manufacturer, after a recent collision which raised several new concerns.
In June, a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan collided with a deer outside of St. Louis, MO. During the accident, the left-side airbag deployed and blew apart a metal canister.
Takata Airbag Recalls
In May, Takata ordered the recall of 33.8 million airbag inflators. Ammonium nitrate, which creates a minimal explosion to inflate the airbags, was found to become unstable after exposure to heat and humidity.
This resulted in the ammonium nitrate burning too quickly, blowing apart the metal canister built to house the explosion. Officials have attributed eight deaths and more than 100 injuries to Takata airbag inflator malfunctions.
The June incident involving the Volkswagen vehicle is concerning to the NHTSA for several reasons. It is the first issue reported involving any Volkswagen-made vehicle, the first incident involving a side airbag, as well as the first involving the newer design of Takata airbags. These factors have caused the NHTSA to question the safety of newer Takata airbags, and whether all airbag systems which utilize ammonium nitrate for inflation should be recalled.
The NHTSA has ordered Takata and Volkswagen to provide information to assist in their investigation. Takata must identify all ammonium nitrate airbag inflators that have been produced by their company. Volkswagen has been asked to supply a list of all Volkswagen vehicles which use airbags with ammonium nitrate, as well as the failure rates of side airbag testing by Volkswagen or a third party.
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