The massive recall of 28 million defective Takata airbags has taken on new urgency with the tragic death of 17-year-old Huma Hanif last week. Hanif bled to death when the airbag in her 2002 Honda Civic deployed improperly sending shrapnel into her neck following a minor rear-end collision on a suburban Houston road.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, attorney Wes Ball called on Takata to extend its recall to every airbag that uses ammonium nitrate inflators. “It’s literally an epidemic,” he said.
Writes the Chronicle: The incident has brought renewed attention to a long-standing and widespread problem that critics say both Takata and car manufacturers failed to address appropriately as it snowballed. About 28.8 million air bags like Hanif’s are under recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those, 7.5 million – less than 30 percent – have been repaired. The numbers represent the largest product recall in U.S. history.
Ball echoed concerns that car owners are facing a public safety dilemma as they face long waits to get their recalled airbags replaced. Fort Bend Sheriff Troy Nehls urged motorist not to delay in checking for recall, saying that he, personally, would not drive a vehicle under the recall until it been repaired. Ball agreed, saying that drivers should consider removing the airbags if auto dealers can’t recall them fast enough. A former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official has called Takata’s response to the recall “deplorable behavior.”
“It’s hard to recommend to someone to take a safety component out of your car,” he said. “If my daughter was driving a vehicle that had a Takata air bag in it, and that was the only option that she had, I would take the air bag out.”
The trial lawyers at Houston-based Farrar & Ball have extensive experience investigating automotive defect cases and are actively representing individuals have been injured by defective Takata aribags.