Takata, a major car parts supplier, was responsible for one of the largest and most complex safety recalls in U.S. history after their airbags were found to be capable of deploying explosively and injuring people. The airbags have caused at least 11 deaths and about 180 injuries since they were first used, and the recall affected more than 42 million vehicles in the United States.
However, recently a loophole has been found in the Takata airbag recall. Recycled airbags not turned in to be replaced by new ones are, instead, ending up in used cars (although this is illegal). For example, in one case, a woman named Karina Dorado was almost killed after her airbag deployed and released shards of metal that punctured her windpipe. The airbag had been a recalled product from an old 2001 Honda Accord.
In her case, she owned a 2002 Honda Accord that had been considered “totaled” by an insurance company but that had a salvage title. A salvage title allows someone to buy the shell of a car, fix it, and then resell it. Cars with salvage titles are considered total losses for an insurance company, but insurance adjusters use them in auctions if they can be made roadworthy again.
Part of the repair to Dorado’s Accord was to replace the steering wheel airbag that had deployed in its original accident. However, instead of getting a new replacement, the seller used an airbag from a 2001 Honda Accord, one that had been included in the recall. Yet, it had never been brought in for the airbag replacement, so it still had the faulty Takata airbag installed.
According to the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act of 2000, it is actually illegal to sell a used automotive part that has been the subject of a recall and hasn’t been fixed. To do so could lead to a fine of up to $21,000 and civil penalties reaching more than $1 million.
There are thousands of Takata airbags that were never deployed sitting in old cars whose owners were never informed of the problem or never got around to replacing the defective parts. Since Honda America started collecting un-deployed Takata airbags from salvage yards, they have collected more than 70,000.
If you’ve been injured by a reused Takata airbag inflator, talk to one of our skilled Denver auto defect attorneys about your case as soon as possible.
Contact us at (888) 711-5947 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.