Takata Faulty Airbag Update: More Deaths, More Recalls

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

Takata’s airbag nightmare seems to be never-ending. Readers who follow The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog, are familiar with the now notorious Takata scandal which started on November 18, 2014. After an intensive investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that Takata airbags were defective and could explode when deployed during a car accident. More specifically, upon deployment of the airbags, defective inflator and propellant devices may shoot metal fragments into the vehicle occupants they’re supposed to protect. These exploding airbags have caused serious injuries and even deaths. So many recalls were issued due to these faulty airbags, that Takata of Japan saught bankruptcy protection and sold most of its assets to pay for the repairs.

While the scandal erupted in 2014, it is still causing problems in 2019, with Toyota issuing a recall of 1.7 million vehicles in North America on January 9, according to the Detroit Free Press. Toyota is urging the drivers of these recalled vehicles to get their front passenger airbags fixed immediately, to avoid airbag injuries in the event of a car crash. Toyota is scheduled to replace 10 million airbags starting this month. This report comes just after Ford recently recalled nearly 1 million vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags, on December 28, 2018.

The Detroit Free Press lists the Toyota and Ford vehicle models included in both recalls.

Toyota Faulty Airbag Recalls Ford and Lincoln Faulty Airbag Recalls
2010 through 2016 4Runner 2010 Ford Edge
2010 through 2013 Corolla and Matrix 2010 Lincoln MKX
2011 through 2014 Sienna 2010 through 2011 Ford Ranger
2010 through 2012 ES Lexus models including the 350 2010 through 2012 Lincoln MKZ
2010 through 2017 GX 460 2010 through 2011 Mercury Milan
2010 through 2015 IS 250C and 350C 2010 through 2014 Ford Mustang
2010 through 2013 250 and 350
2010 through 2015 Scion XB
2010 through 2014 IS-F

NHTSA’s December 2018 report, Update on the State of the Takata Airbag Recalls, mentions that 15 people have been killed in the U.S. and hundreds have been injured worldwide due to Takata’s faulty airbags. According to the report, “more exposure over more time to high heat and humidity further degrades the Takata inflators phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate compound, making it more porous, more volatile and more prone to transform from a life-saving device to a life-threatening one.” The report also mentions that one-third of the recalled inflators still have not been replaced! Also, as of October 2018, approximately 16.7 million recalled Takata airbag inflators remain unrepaired and close to 10 million more inflators will be added to the recalls in January of this year.

Drivers can enter their vehicle’s VIN number in the Safety Issues and Recalls lookup tool on the NHTSA’s website to find out if their vehicle, “needs to be repaired as part of a recall.” It’s recommended that vehicle owners regularly check to see if there are any recalls out on their cars to avoid any accident injuries that result from not making these repairs.


Drivers of recalled vehicles are encouraged to have their automobiles serviced by certified professionals, in order to prevent more serious injuries and deaths resulting from the Takata airbag scandal. Faulty airbag deaths can occur if defective inflator and propellant devices shoot metal fragments into a vehicle’s occupants upon deflating during a car crash. The defective airbags may also deploy randomly and not just during car accidents if the chemical compound inside deteriorates. Drivers can enroll in NHTSA’s recall notification email system to receive alerts regarding recalls affecting their vehicles. If you or someone you know was injured due to faulty airbags or any other recall defect, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC today at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Dangerous Takata Air Bag Inflators Are Still On The Market

Since early 2015, The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog has informed and kept readers updated on the Takata air bag scandal, in which faulty air bag inflators exploded, either randomly or when deployed in car accidents, when the chemical propellant inside degraded. In the latest news, it was discovered that the government overlooked a glaring error while attempting to rid vehicles of defective Takata air bags when they came to an agreement back in January, 2107. Under federal law it is completely legal for junkyards to sell previously or currently recalled and other wrecked vehicle parts to repair shops that later can be placed into other cars. The transaction is easy to do since there isn't a government agency that currently tracks the purchases, nor a state that has laws against the reuse of recalled vehicle parts. This means that faulty Takata air bags have been sold from junkyards and repurposed in cars that people are currently driving.

Faulty Air Bag Accident Lawyer

How To Avoid Buying A Faulty Car

A reused faulty air bag is the reason why Karen Dorado suffered from a punctured trachea, neck injuries, and damaged vocal cords after getting in a minor car crash on March 3, 2017. Dorado’s father bought her a Honda Accord so that she would have reliable transportation to get her back and forth to work and was unaware, at the time, of the car’s history. This history includes a car accident in Phoenix, Arizona in 2015 that declared the vehicle to be totaled and was later salvaged, repaired, and sold in Las Vegas on March 2016. The inflator however, was traced to a 2001 Accord that had been under recall, but had yet to be serviced and must have been stolen or replaced by a junkyard that sold it to the shop that repaired Dorado’s Honda Accord. 

Dorado is only one of almost 200 people injured or killed by the faulty Takata inflators. To avoid getting into car accidents in tricky situations such as Dorado's it is recommended that anyone who is looking to purchase a vehicle first check it's complete purchase and repair history. Auto history trackers like Carfax or AutoCheck are resourceful sites that research the history of used vehicles so that potential buyers will have an idea of any problems they could possibly be inheriting by purchasing a used vehicle.

Takata's Air Bag Buy Back Program

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

Takata now has a program in place that will buy up any of their air bags to take them out of circulation. In fact, Takata has already purchased around 60,000 of them. However, this still doesn’t prevent future buyers of used or salvaged cars from potential danger even when searching the car's VIN number on websites like the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is only allowed to monitor reported vehicles and not car parts, whether they are reported or not. An NHTSA spokeswoman admitted as much to the L.A. Times stating that, “The federal government has no authority over used car sales and cannot stop air bags from being resold.”

Acting director of the Center for Auto Safety Michael Brooks, said,

“People should be suspicious of cars with salvage titles because there is no way of knowing where the parts came from or the quality of the repair work. Although some are safe, stolen or counterfeit parts can be used.”

Update On The Takata Air Bag Scandal

On January 13, 2017 Federal Detroit prosecutors announced that a settlement was reached with Takata over their defective air bag inflators that would cause debris to explode upon impact. The settlement agreement includes Takata pleading guilty to wire fraud, paying $1 billion in criminal penalties, and the indictment of 3 former Takata executives, Shinichi Tanaka, 59; Hideo Nakajima, 65; and Tsuneo Chikaraishi, 61. Roughly $125 million of the fine is going to go to those who were injured by the air bag - if they haven't received a separate settlement - while $850 million will go to automakers who have incurred debt over replacement costs for the air bags. Takata was also ordered to recall the almost 100 million air bags, in phases, which should be completed by the end of 2019.

Drivers are encouraged to make sure their vehicle has been recently serviced in order to prevent serious injuries and death resulting from the Takata air bag inflators. Future car buyers who may be purchasing a used car or salvaging a current one should be vigilant in making sure that the car parts are purchased from a state approved auto shop. At the very least, any one in the used car buying market should should look up the history of their car's parts.


Although, Takata is now compensating families for their loss, it comes a little too late for those who have lost a loved one due to their negligence. Now, the horror continues through sales of salvaged parts that is completely legal under federal law. If you or someone you know was injured due to faulty air bags or any other recall defect, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. today. We will work hard to earn you any compensation you may be entitled to.