Takata Air Bag Inflators Recalled After Explosion Caused Fatality

The Takata airbag scandal is not new news to readers who follow The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog. For those who are unaware however, in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Takata airbags were defective and could explode when deployed during a car accident, or even spontaneously due to wear over time. These exploding airbags have caused serious injuries and even death. The Detroit Free Press has recently issued a warning to all 2006 Ford Ranger drivers, in relation to defective Takata airbags, urging them to get their vehicles inspected immediately.

Michigan Takata Recall Accident Lawyer

The Detroit Free Press also reported that, "inflators, which use ammonium nitrate as a propellant, can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel. The problem touched off the largest string of auto recalls in U.S. history and forced Takata into bankruptcy and more than 180 people have been injured." In January of 2016, Ford recalled 391,000 Rangers in the U.S. and Canada from 2004 to 2006 to replace the vehicles’ inflators. The recall was announced after the unexpected death of South Carolina resident, 52-year-old Joel Knight in December of 2015. He was driving his 2006 Ranger when his airbag exploded randomly, and not due to a car accident.

In another similar defective airbag incident, Steve Mollohan from Hedgeville, West Virginia died while operating a 2006 Ford Ranger on July 1, 2017 when his airbag exploded. Even after that incident, as of July 28, 2017, only 3.7% of the recalled 2004 to 2006 Rangers in the U.S. had been repaired, according to the NHTSA. Recalls usually have a repair rate of around 75% after 18 months of the recall. Ford has tried everything to reach drivers in this situations and has encouraged drivers of recalled vehicles to get them repaired.

Detroit Takata Air Bag Injury Lawyer

A separate recall was issued in November of 2017, also because of faulty airbags. The NHTSA reported that around 34 million cars are being recalled and 46 million defective airbags could possibly explode and lead to serious injury or death. More airbags are scheduled to be recalled by December of 2019, bringing the total number of recalls to around 60-75 million. Of those recalled, only 43% of the airbags have been repaired. If you currently drive a Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks North America (Sterling Bullet), Daimler Vans USA LLC (Sprinter), Dodge/Ram, Ferrari, Fisker, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes Benz, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion , Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, or Volkswagen, use the Recalls Lookup Tool to see if your car has been recalled. Ford has also said that loaner cars will be available to those who need them and repairs will be completed free of charge.

There are many cars out there that have been recalled, but not yet repaired. Drivers shouldn't hesitate in getting their cars fixed. It's better to be safe, than sorry and risk getting into a car accident or other type of dangerous situation. 


Every year many companies issue recalls to improve equipment or to implement safety measures. Ignoring recalls may lead to injuries, for example in the event that a vehicle's problem leads to motor vehicle accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

FTC Sued For Approving Used Cars With Recall Defects

Auto Recall Car Crash Lawyer

The old adage, "it's too good to be true" comes to mind in the light the news that used cars sale representatives have been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to sell used cars as certified, despite some of them having safety defects. Some of those defects include vehicles or parts under recall that have yet to be fixed. However, used car salespeople can still sell the cars as 'safe' or as subjected to 'rigorous inspection' vehicles just as long as they post a notice prior to the purchase of the vehicle stating that it may be under recall notice and by providing the buyer with the information to discover if the vehicle is under recall. 

CBS News listed that the defects may include exploding faulty Takata air bags in addition to other defects that can cause serious to fatal injuries such as, defective ignition switches, problems with the power steering, and damaged brakes. The FTC came to the decision during a settlement with General Motors (GM) and 2 used car dealers.

Opponents Of Recall Defective Car Sales

Cash 4 Junk Cars Sign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not approve of the FTCs ruling. In fact, the FTC's agreement goes against NHTSA policy. The NHTSA's policy, which they unfortunately don't have the power to enforce, says that used cars must be inspected and fixed before being resold. 

Seconding the NHTSA's view on the issue, Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) said, “The FTCs reckless action will result in more people being killed and injured because of unsafe, defective used cars.” To back up their words with actions, Shahan’s organization is fighting along with a few Democratic senators, the Center for Auto Safety, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group against the FTC. “It’s a dangerous and irresponsible abuse of the commission’s authority,” Shahan continued. Now the FTC is facing a lawsuit from the 3 organizations on the grounds of consumer safety.  

The legislative director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, Deidre Cummings also said to NBC News that, "The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to crack down on false and misleading advertising, but instead they are encouraging it. They should have protected consumers, but chose to protect reckless car dealers.”

How Defective Car Sales Affect The Auto Industry 

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Many view the FTC's decision as a change in the auto buying industry. This may lead to car dealers altering their policies to reflect monetary benefits for themselves instead of safety measures for the consumers. In fact some changes have already been made. Ford has already modified their policies to include recall defects such as the Takata airbag. Ford Dealers can now sell vehicles with faulty parts as 'certified' as long as the word 'safe' is not utilized at anytime in the sale. Used Ford buyers will then sign an agreement noting that they are aware of the safety issue and agree to be contacted by the Ford dealer once the replacement parts arrive. 

In defense of their new policy, Sara Tatchio of Ford Communications stated that, “The safety of our customers is our top priority. Our dealers must complete all recalls when parts are available. In the extremely rare instance when parts are not available, our policy is that dealers must clearly disclose the situation including printing the open recall information and handing it to the prospective customer. As soon as parts are available, the dealer will then prioritize completing the open recall.”

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves From Recalls

They are few things consumers can do to safeguard themselves from buying a used vehicle that may have recall defects.

  • Look up a vehicle's Identification number (VIN) in the NHTSA’s recall lookup tool. The NHTSA’s system will show any outstanding recalls that have yet to be fixed on the vehicle.
  • Get a vehicle's history report on websites like CarFax to see if the car has been involved in any accidents, if any original parts have been replaced, and if it has been regularly and properly maintained. 
  • Before making a vehicle purchase, ask the salesperson about the history of the car and whether any defects or other safety problems have been made aware to them. 
  • Even if the vehicle list it has been subjected to "rigorous inspection" or as is labeled "safe," get it inspected anyway by a qualified mechanic before buying it. Try to find an auto shop that doesn't have ties to the dealership that the vehicle is being sold from. 

These tips are not 100% effective in every used car buying scenario but in general, they may ease the trepidation one may have in buying a used car. Hopefully, armed with the knowledge of past or present recalls and mechanic history, used car buyers can make an informed decision on what vehicle would serve their needs best while keeping them and others safe. After all, getting involved in a car accident due to a faulty or defective car part because you didn't due your due diligence in researching a used car before purchasing it, is an unfortunate way to harm yourself. 


Car recall lookup tools provided by government websites and agencies such as the NHTSA are one ideal way to make sure that car buyers are truly purchasing safe cars. It is unfortunate that the FTC would approve of the sale of cars with defective parts, thereby making buyers unable to trust the CPO seal that guarantees buyers that they are buying a recall-free vehicle. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident caused by a vehicle under recall, call 844.4MI.FIRM and speak to the experienced staff at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. We provide free consultations to discuss your legal options.

Grosse Pointe Teen Crashes In Lake St. Clair

On February 26, 2017, 16-year-old Nolan Mullins crashed into Lake St. Clair after his mother's Ford Flex steering wheeled reportedly locked up on him causing him to veer toward the lake at 30 miles per hour. "It felt like the tire locked," Nolan told The Detroit Free Press. "I tried shaking the wheel, and I couldn't get it to move. It wouldn't move. I had this freak-out moment," he said. "By the time I slammed on the brakes, I wasn't getting any traction."

Grosse Pointe Car Crash Lawyer

The Ford Flex crashed into the lake at a 33-degree angle and began to sink. Nolan first tried to escape through the driver side door without success, and then tried the windows, which successfully rolled down and allowed him to swim out of the vehicle after unbuckling himself. "If I'd waited another five seconds, I think I would have lost the power windows," Nolan said.

Once he was free of the vehicle, Nolan swam to the hood of the car so he could signal for help. That is when Lisa Hughes, an elementary school teacher, happened to be driving by and saw the crowd of cars nearby where Nolan had crashed.  Hughes quickly jumped into action by ordering her daughter to call 911 while she encouraged Nolan to give her his parents' phone number. Hughes informed Nolan's mother about the situation and alerted her that the authorities were on their way. 

Ford Flex Recall

Grosse Pointe Injury Lawyer

By the time the U.S. Coast Guard reached Nolan, he had mild hypothermia and was taken to St. Johns Hospital to be treated. It is currently unclear what exactly caused the Flex to malfunction, but it is known that the Ford issued a recall on nearly 400,000 vehicles back in June 2015, which included the Ford Flex for power steering issues.

Mr. Nolan was fortunate in being able to escape from his vehicle without the power windows seizing up on him. It is important to remember that others might not be so lucky. Therefore, all drivers and anyone with access to a motor vehicle should remember to regularly check to see if any recalls have been issued for their vehicle. In regards to Ford models, anyone who may be under the recall is encouraged to contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332 to avoid any potential accidents in the future. All other drivers are encouraged to go to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)'s website and enter their vehicle identification number (VIN) number, to find out if their vehicle is safe to drive. It only takes one minute to use the NHTSA's recall look up, which means that it could only take one minute to avoid a car accident and ultimately save lives.


Situations like the one Mr. Nolan experienced can be very scary, especially since his malfunctioning car did not lead to a typical motor vehicle accident but a potential drowning. Therefore, car drivers and owners should take precautions to check for vehicle recalls, and in case of a recall, get their vehicles serviced and fixed as soon as possible in order to avoid accidents like this from happening. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to a malfunctioning vehicle or a car under recall, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today.