The NHTSA Takes Legal Action Against Takata
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Nov 04, 2015 in Defective Products
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued two Consent Orders against Takata, the Japanese airbag manufacturer who built and sold defective airbags, in what is now known as the largest civil penalty action in the NHTSAs forty-five year history. The recall of Takatas defective airbags has left the company facing at least six product liability class action lawsuits, and has resulted in the auto manufacturer Honda dropping the company as the primary supplier of their vehicles airbags.
The Consent Orders issued by the NHTSA will require Takata to pay a $200 million fine and to halt the production and sale of airbags equipped with ammonium nitrate propellant, a chemical believed to be responsible for Takata airbag ruptures and explosions. In the United States alone, Takata airbags with ammonium nitrate propellant have cause eight deaths and nearly 100 injuries.
Takatas blatant violation of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act prompted the NHTSA to impose its legal authority for the first time since 2000, when legal authority was first given to the NHTSA via the TREAD Act. The TREAD Act permits the administration to oversee the recall and repair of a manufacturers defective products if the manufacturer has clearly put the American public in danger.
After imposing their legal authority over Takata, the NHTSA discovered the Japanese company was aware their airbags were defective, yet they did nothing to address the defects nor did they issue any recalls. The NHTSA also discovered Takata had been providing them with incomplete or inaccurate airbag safety data for the past six years, and they had also been providing inaccurate safety data to their customers.
As part of the NHTSAs legal arrangements with Takata, the NHTSA will have an independent monitor on site at the Takata manufacturing plant to ensure the company complies with all aspects of the recall and repair process. For the next five years, the NHTSAs monitor will track and report the companys compliance with all requirements of the Consent Order, and will oversee a Coordinated Remedy Program.
A Coordinated Remedy Program ensures vehicle product manufacturers have sufficient replacements on hand to meet recall demand. In Takatas case, the program will ensure vehicles with defective airbags will receive new airbags by June 2016, and it will also ensure vehicles with airbag design issues will be equipped with new airbags by the end of 2019.
Over 23 million defective Takata airbags were installed in 19 million vehicles that were manufactured by 12 different automakers.
If you own a vehicle with a defective Takata airbag, or if you were injured in a car accident that may have been caused by a defective Takata airbag, the product liability lawyers the Phillips Law Group can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
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