In a prior post, we highlighted dire predictions from federal regulators about the number of automotive recalls that would be initiated in 2015. Unfortunately, it is expected that the number of cars expected to be brought back for repairs may eclipse the record number set in 2014.
It appears that 2015 is off to an ominous start. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall that would affect more than two million vehicles due to defects concerning airbags; the same airbags that spurred a separate recall last year.
At issue is the possible inadvertent deployment of airbags upon unsuspecting drivers. Officials believed that this problem was resolved under the previous recall, which had to do with the canisters that housed the airbags potentially disintegrating and sending shrapnel like materials into drivers and unsuspecting passengers.
According to the NHTSA, the recall affects Toyotas, Chyslers and Hondas.
The recall is important not only to protect passengers, but also to avoid further legal liability by the automakers. After all, automakers have a continuing duty to notify consumers about potentially dangerous defects and taking reasonable steps to address them. If an automaker fails to do these things, and a consumer is injured or killed as a result, the automaker could be held liable. This means that an injured person could seek monetary damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses and even lost wages.
So far, no new injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of any premature airbag deployments, but with nearly 40 million vehicles being potentially affected, it is helpful for consumers to know that the recall applies.