Takata Corporation Will Face Senate While Charged for a Woman’s Death

Takata Corporation

Takata Corporation will face the U.S. Senate panel this Tuesday, June 23, for a hearing about the ongoing investigation of the defective airbags recalls. The corporation has been charged with the death of a Lafayette woman. The Senate committees on Transportation, Science and Commerce said on Wednesday, that the hearing will look into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s role and oversight of the matter. There was no mention of witnesses.

According to recent reports, Japan-based automotive parts company, Takata Corporation, manufactured faulty air bags which they supplied to big automobile makers like Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. These three Japanese automobile makers are involved in a massive recall of vehicles ever since the Takata-made airbags installed in their vehicles were found to malfunction. The airbags explode with great force in crash incidents and sent metal and plastic fragments to the vehicle cabin. The defective bags have been blamed for seven deaths and more than a hundred injuries all over the world.

The Takata Corporation faulty inflators recall is the biggest recall of its kind. It followed after the Japanese company agreed to double the size of the airbags. The airbags it makes are in millions of vehicles, worldwide.

Takata Corporation issued the first airbag recall in 2008 for more than 4,200 vehicles, and the number grew to more than 14.2 million. Among the automakers which installed Takata Corporation airbags are BMW, Acura, Chevrolet, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ford, and Chrysler.

Takata Corporation will face the Senate panel on June 23 while facing charges for a Lafayette woman’s death, allegedly caused by a Takata airbag. The hearing will likewise investigate Takata’s remediation efforts and how the car makers address the faulty air bags. Last week, there was news that Toyota recalled about 1.4 million vehicles for the airbag issue. Vehicles include cars, trucks and SUVs, which add to the increasing number vehicles called back because of an airbag defective. Last month, Nissan Motors likewise recalled vehicles to fix the problem. Altogether, both Toyota and Nissan recalled around six million vehicles.

With regard to the number of faulty air bag-related recalled vehicles, Honda tops all three Japanese automakers. They were the biggest victim of the air bag issue, recalling more than 14.4 million vehicles and still planning to recall more for the same problem.

Honda and Takata Corporation have been charged in a lawsuit filed by the mother of a woman who died in a Lafayette hospital. On April 5, Kylan Rae Langlinais, 22, drove her 2005 Civic into a pole on the 2000 block of Johnston Street. She died four days later. Her mother filed the lawsuit against Honda Corporation and the maker of the airbag installed in Langlinais’ car. The suit claims that the corporation already knew the inflator was defective and could spray fatal shrapnel during crash incidents.

The Langlinais suit also cites that the problem was first learned in 2001, after an airbag in an Isuzu exploded. Moreover, the suit accuses Honda of knowing it in 2004, when a Takata inflator ruptured in Alabama, about 10 years before the airbag allegedly killed the young Langlinais. The suit likewise claims that both Takata and Honda tried to conceal the airbag problem.

Langlinais family attorney Kenneth St. Pé, said Kylan Rae’s death was made more tragic when the Takata Corporation airbag recall notice arrived two days after the incident, while the young lady was in the hospital, and two days before she died. Doctors found a severed carotid artery in the patient, which is said to be the only serious injury she suffered. Such injury was similar to other victims of the Takata airbag explosions which sent metal bits flying, the lawyer said.

Takata Corporation will face the Senate panel this Tuesday.

“Langlinais had a penetrating injury on her neck’s right side which caused immediate loss of blood,” the lawsuit states. According to St. Pé, the number of Takata airbag malfunctions responsible for deaths are perhaps more since there might be some people who died during a vehicle accident that were not brought to hospitals and, therefore, were not examined. They were just known to have “died in a car wreck.”

By Judith Aparri

Reuters: Senate panel to hold June 23 hearing on Takata recall
Bidness Etc: Takata Corp Air-Bag Recall Hearing To Be Held On June 23
3 News: Takata airbag recall expands again
The Advocate: Mother files lawsuit against Honda, Takata over airbag-related death

Photo courtesy of OSX – Wikimedia Commons