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NHTSA Investigating 1.1 Million Vehicles

Posted on behalf of Greg Coleman Law on Jun 13, 2014 in Defective Product

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on June 11, 2014 that the federal agency is investigating five automobile companies for failures associated with air bags. From 2002-2006, at least six accidents have been recorded in which the air bag ruptured when it deployed in an accident, said the NHTSA.

The NHTSA launched the probe after viewing the similarities in the six reported incidents. The company responsible for producing the allegedly defective air bags is Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata. The NHTSAs investigation is limited to vehicle models from the 2002-2006 years.

A central question to the investigation is whether the air bags work properly in humid regions. The incidences of air bag failure that have been reported to the NHTSA occurred in Florida and in Puerto Rico and in both regions, humidity is very high.

On the same day that the NHTSA announced their investigation, Toyota announced that it would be recalling 650,000 vehicles with Takata air bag components. Though no other recalls have been announced, companies such as Honda Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Nissan Motor Co., and Mazda Motor Co., are all currently under investigation by the NHTSA. It is likely that in the coming weeks, other automakers will be joining Toyota and recalling vehicles.

The Takata supplied air bags were already subject to worldwide recalls in 2013 for a defect in which the deployed airbag would release shrapnel. This latest wave of recalls reflects the growing concern that the 2013 Takata air bag recalls did not comprehensively address all of the safety defects associated with the air bags. 

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