During the holidays, certain news stories do not receive as much attention as they would at other times of year. That may have been the reason why a fatal incident from late December largely went unnoticed until recently. Late last month, another American was killed in an accident involving an exploding Takata air bag.
This latest fatality has brought the death toll up to 10, with nine occurring here in the United States. In addition to being tragic, the recent fatal accident caused by the dangerous air bags is significant for a number of reasons. First, it occurred many months after the story broke and the first recalls were issued. Second, it is the first death linked to a vehicle that was not manufactured by Honda.
Americans were warned about the Takata air bag problem in mid 2015 (although Takata insiders may have known about the problem for more than a decade). The fact that unfixed cars are still on the road is not a sign of consumer laziness or indifference. Rather, it is sign that the recall is not being executed quickly enough. According to news sources, faulty air bags have only been replaced in about 25 to 28 percent of recalled vehicles. At least some of the delay is due to unavailability of replacement parts.
The most recent death happened to a victim driving a 2006 Ford Ranger. Although the recall now includes 14 major automakers, all deaths prior to this one have occurred in Honda vehicles. Sadly, the scope of this recall is still not fully understood by either federal regulators or by Takata. It is likely that more deaths will occur before the air bag problem has been fully resolved.
No matter what vehicle you drive, please take a moment to research whether your car is included in any safety recall by visiting Recalls.gov. And if you or a loved one has suffered serious injury as the result of a vehicle defect, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.