By Colleen Kave, J.D.
Takata Corporation has issued the recall of approximately 13,850,000 air bag inflators based on its determination that certain PSPI, PSPI-1.1, PSPI-2, PSPI 6, PSPI-L, and SPI air bag inflators assembled as part of the frontal air bag modules, and used as original equipment or replacement equipment, such as after a vehicle crash necessitating replacement of the original air bags, may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to lower absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling. In a series of three recall notices, the company addressed vehicles ever registered in the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as well as in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company warns that an inflator rupture may result in metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death (NHTSA Recall Notice, Nos. 16V042, 16V043, and 16V044, Report receipt date: May 16, 2016).
These recalls comes in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent announcement regarding the expansion and acceleration of the Takata air bag inflator recall to include an additional 35-40 million inflators by the end of 2019 [see Products Liability Law Daily’s May 4, 2016 analysis]. The agency is intensifying its actions based on its confirmation of the root cause behind the inflators’ propensity to rupture. Malfunctioning air bags have been tied to 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries in the United States, and 28.8 million air bag inflators have already been recalled. An amended consent order issued to Takata earlier in May 2016 requires the company to support vehicle manufacturer recall campaigns of the additional 35-40 million inflators. The expanded recall will unfold in five phases between May 2016 and December 2019 and will be structured around prioritization of risk determined by the age of the inflators and the climate in which vehicles are operated.
Remedy. Takata will be working with vehicle manufacturers to determine into which vehicles the affected inflators were installed either as original or replacement equipment during service. As this work progresses, numerous vehicle recalls will likely be announced by the impacted vehicle manufacturers. NHTSA will supply this information as soon as possible.
Contact information. Owners may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
Companies: Takata Corp.
MainStory: TopStory ProductRecallsNews MotorEquipmentNews
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