The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it is levying the maximum daily fines possible against Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corp. after the company refused to cooperate with the NHTSA’s probe into the faulty airbags.
Takata will be fined $14,000 a day starting Feb. 20 for violating two different orders from the NHTSA. The NHTSA is also seeking congressional approval to boost the maximum daily fine from $7,000 to $25,000.
The NHTSA will also be demanding that Takata executives appear to answer questions in person, rather than through written replies, and will also be conducting short-notice inspections at Takata’s Michigan factory.
On Wednesday, Takata was ordered to preserve all of the airbag inflation devices for use as evidence in the ongoing federal investigation, as well as for use in private civil lawsuits. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has prohibited Takata from destroying or damaging any airbag inflators, other than what is necessary to complete testing.
The investigation into the faulty airbags has progressed from a Preliminary Evaluation to an Engineering Analysis, which is the second step in the NHTSA’s recall process. If the Engineering Analysis reveals persistent or pervasive problems with the airbags, the NHTSA will request that Takata issue a full, nationwide recall for its drivers side airbags.
So far, automakers have recalled approximately 25 million vehicles worldwide in an attempt to fix the airbags. A defect in the inflator mechanism causes the airbag to inflate too rapidly, causing the metal housing which surrounds the airbags to explode. This can cause pieces of metal to spray out from the airbags at high speeds. At least six deaths have been linked to the Takata airbags, along with dozens of injuries.
The attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are closely monitoring the recall situation, and are ready to provide assistance to any person injured by a faulty Takata airbag. If you or your loved one was in an accident made worse by a defective airbag, you could have a claim against the manufacturer. Find out more, and protect your legal rights by contacting an experienced Silver Spring personal injury lawyer at Goldberg Finnegan today.