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Automakers taking their time with massive airbag recall

Kentucky car owners whose vehicles are among the millions scheduled to be serviced for defective airbag inflators may have to wait longer than expected. According to a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Dec. 31 deadline to comply with the terms of the recall order on Takata airbags will not be met, which means that millions of drivers will continue to be at risk of serious injury and even death.

The Takata defective inflator recall has been one of the most prominent cases of negligent manufacturer action in history. According to a report by the Associated Press, 12 U.S.deaths have been attributed to Takata inflators that have either failed or expelled shrapnel during collisions. In the July 2017 death of a 34-year old driver in Florida, investigators are seeking to determine whether the airbag in that case exploded upon deployment.

Based on the most current information, Ford, Nissan, Mazda, Chrysler, and Subaru are among the automakers actively complying with the recall order, but their completion rates are below 50 percent. The best performer thus far is Honda, which has completed more than 60 percent but still has more than 3 million vehicles to service. The Takata airbag recall began i after federal regulators and prosecutors accelerated the process against the manufacturer of the inflators that deploy these safety devices. The NHTSA took a lot of heat from lawmakers who believed that the agency was not taking swift action on this issue.

Automakers that fail to comply with safety recall orders open themselves to major legal issues. People who have been injured by a defective auto part may want to meet with an attorney to see if the automaker bears financial responsibility along with the manufacturer.

Source: AP News, "AP Analysis: Most automakers slow to fix dangerous air bags" Tom Krisher, Aug. 1, 2017

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