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Airbag recall provides little comfort to U.S. auto owners

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Heralded as “the most complex consumer safety recall in U.S. history,” by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the Takata airbag recall now stands to affect some 34 million vehicles in the U.S. The announcement by Japan-based Takata to recall the record-number of defective automotive parts came amid mounting pressure by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and has raised questions and concerns among many U.S. motor-vehicle owners.

To date, a total of six deaths and hundreds of injuries have been confirmed as being linked to the defective airbags. When deployed, parts of the faulty airbags may explode causing pieces of metal shrapnel to spray the very drivers and passengers the airbags are supposed to protect.

Motor vehicle manufacturers and Takata contend it may take days to compile an accurate list of those vehicle makes and models impacted by the recall. News of the recall provided little comfort to auto owners, many of whom were told by their dealerships that replacement parts are not currently available.

For wary motor-vehicle owners, the disorganized manner in which the recall has been conducted has left many with little choice but to continue to drive cars and trucks that likely contain the dangerous and defective airbags. Additionally, officials at the NHTSA admit that they have no authority to prevent dealerships from selling used motor vehicles that may contain the defective airbags.

From tires and ignition switches to engine components and airbags, a faulty or defective automotive part can put drivers and passengers at risk of suffering serious injury and death. Individuals, who have been negatively impacted due to a recalled auto part, may choose to discuss their case with an attorney and pursue legal action.

Source: The New York Times, “For Drivers, Confusion Reigns in Takata Airbag Recall,” Aaron M. Kessler and Danielle Ivory, May 20, 2015

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.