The government gave Takata Corp until December 2019 to prove that airbag inflators using ammonium nitrate propellant were safe for public use. The mandate was considered a stay of execution for the embattled parts manufacturer, which has been dealing with the largest automotive recall in American history. However, something has changed, and now Takata must recall all of its ammonium nitrate inflators by the end of 2019.
Back in April, a teenage girl from Texas was driving her Honda when a minor fender bender caused her airbag to go off. The girl did not survive the incident. The airbag inflator in her car was one of the recalled Takata units-a fact the girl’s parents had no idea about when they bought the car.
This teenager’s passing caught the attention of federal regulators, who immediately began to look into the recall notification system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) immediately amended several rules about notifying car owners about recalls, including a mandate to release technical service bulletins to the public instead of just to dealerships, but some still wondered if that was enough.
An independent report recently confirmed that time, humidity and heat can turn Takata airbag inflators into grenades, and so NHTSA officials have finally decided that they have all the evidence they need. NHTSA ordered another expansion to the largest auto recall in history. The expansion will add somewhere between 35-40 million more vehicles to the recall list, which will raise the Takata airbag recall to 68.8 million vehicles. That’s one in every four vehicles in the nation!
In South Carolina, a man was fatally wounded when he tried to avoid hitting a cow, and his airbag went off. Police discovered that the truck had spent most of its time here in Georgia, where it was exposed to the heat and moisture needed to turn its airbag inflator into a ticking time bomb. So all of Georgia needs to pay attention to the direction of this recall.
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