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Concerns turn to unrecalled Takata airbags

North Carolina residents are likely familiar with the ongoing automobile recall involving airbag inflators. Around 20 million vehicles that were mostly from 2008 and before were recalled due to faulty airbags manufactured by the Takata company until more recalls occurred in 2016 for newer models. Fourteen automakers have issued 28.8 million recalls, and U.S. auto safety regulators are now looking at the models that have not been recalled.

Reuters had estimated that somewhere between 70 and 90 million U.S. vehicles had unrecalled Takata airbags. On April 13, government auto safety regulators clarified the amount and reported that around 85 million vehicles had the unrecalled airbags. If Takata cannot prove that these airbags are safe by 2019, then they will also need to be recalled.

Millions of airbag inflators were recalled because of safety issues as they were susceptible to exploding when deployed, and shrapnel coming from the airbags can injure or even kill motorists. The age of the airbags were once thought to be part of the problem, but the more recent recall in 2016 suggests that there is a design flaw when inflating the airbags. Ten U.S. deaths are currently connected to the exploding airbags, and the most recent fatality occurred on March 31 when a 17-year-old driver was killed in Texas while inside a 2002 Honda Civic that had a recalled Takata airbag that had not been repaired.

A person who is injured in an accident caused by another party's negligence can seek compensation for related expenses through a personal injury lawsuit. This often involves proceeding against an at-fault driver, but in some cases the injuries are made worse due to a dangerous product such as in the case of an exploding airbag. This could lead to the manufacturer being named as a defendant in lieu of or in addition to the negligent motorist.

Source: CNN Money, "Takata airbag recall is worse than we thought", Chris Isidore, Feb. 4, 2016

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