Personal Injury: Defective Car Part

Saving lives by passing and enforcing laws which will reduce road accidents, and prevent injuries and/or untimely death is one of the very important tasks of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some of these laws are directed to designers and makers, mandating them to comply with federal standards on vehicle safety and excellence.

The NHTSA legally obliges car manufacturers to make sure that all vehicles leaving their manufacturing plant will never put lives at risk and that no unit is defectively designed or is equipped with a defective part. However, the contrary is what usually happens. In 2013, records from the NHTSA show that 22 million vehicles were recalled by more than 10 car manufacturers due either to defective design or parts, which included tires, brake parts, steering wheel, child seats, seat belt, wipers, and air bags that just deploy despite the vehicle not crashing. There was also a case wherein gas leaked from the engine, increasing the risk of fire.

The biggest recall in the car industry so far, though, is the defective airbag from Takata which, in November of 2014, it was revealed that Takata had produced millions of dangerously defective airbags. These airbags had a tendency to explode, releasing shrapnels as these exploded. In December of 2015, the NHTSA further discovered more problematic airbags in four other vehicle models, raising the count of affected vehicles to more than 30,000,000.

Though strict regulations are imposed by the NHTSA regarding testing of vehicle safety, such as timeliness of airbag activation and the effectiveness of seatbelt restraints, many vehicles still operate with some kind of flaw that will either cause an accident or prevent safety systems from functioning properly in the event of a collision. And the worst danger of a defective car part is the car owner’s or driver’s absence of knowledge about such defect.

With regard to Takata’s exploding airbags, lawsuits and mass torts continue to be filed against Takata, which is already facing up to $200 million in fines.

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