Defective Airbag Recalls
These are the worst of times for air bag manufacturers. At the start of 2020, Toyota and Honda had recalled over 6 million vehicles due to defective airbags. Obviously, these massive airbag recalls are of concern to the personal injury attorneys at Joseph Joy and Associates in Lafayette.
Toyota is recalling 3.4 million cars, 2.9 million of which are in the United States. The vehicles being recalled in the United States include the Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Avalon, and Avalon HV lines that were produced between 2010 and 2019. Meantime, Honda is recalling 2.47 million vehicles in the U.S. for fear that some Acuras produced between 1996 and 2003 might have dysfunctional Takata airbag inflators that might have been produced without the “appropriate seals” needed to deploy properly.
Takata is not a newcomer to recalling defective air bags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an entire web page devoted to Takata recalls.
According to the NHTSA, tens of millions of vehicles with Takata air bags are under recall. Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can cause these air bags to explode when deployed. Such explosions have caused injuries and deaths. We have lots of heat and humidity here in Lafayette and South Louisiana so there is reason to be concerned. NHTSA is in communication with Takata and vehicle manufacturers, working to identify vehicles that have defective air bag inflators. When a vehicle manufacturer issues a recall, the vehicle owner will be notified. Click here for more info from the government on Takata recalls.
Do you own a vehicle with an airbag subject to recall?
Let’s face it, the litany of vehicle recalls is confusing. There are so many recalls making headlines, it is hard to keep them straight. The legal team at Joseph Joy and Associates in Lafayette has some help for you. The NHTSA offers an easy way to determine if your car is being recalled. All you need is your VIN number. Every vehicle has a unique VIN. Enter a VIN to learn if a specific vehicle needs to be repaired as part of a recall. Simply enter your vehicle’s VIN number into the NHTSA VIN search tool, which will show unrepaired vehicle affected by a vehicle safety recall in the past 15 calendar years and vehicle safety recalls from major light auto automakers, motorcycle manufacturers and some medium/heavy truck manufacturers. Read the tool information closely as it clearly sets forth what it will show and what it will not show, including:
- There may be a delay with very recently announced safety recalls for which not all VINs have been identified. VINs are added continuously so please check regularly.
- Safety recalls that are more than 15 years old (except where a manufacturer offers more coverage)
- Safety recalls conducted by small vehicle manufacturers, including some ultra-luxury brands and specialty applications
What should I do if my vehicle is under recall?
Every recall is serious because it means there is a safety problem with your vehicle, so contact your dealer as soon as possible to get the recall repair FOR FREE.
If a dealer refuses to repair your vehicle as described in the recall letter, you should notify the manufacturer immediately. You can also file a complaint with NHTSA. Provide as many details as possible, including the name of the dealership and any personnel involved.
Louisiana’s Airbag Laws
In Louisiana, it is against the law to sell, install or manufacture a nonfunctional or counterfeit airbag.* If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a defective vehicle airbag, call the legal team at Joseph Joy. But remember, air bags provide additional protection and are not a replacement for seat belts. Always buckle up! Both frontal and side-impact air bags are generally designed to deploy in moderate to severe crashes and may deploy in even a minor crash. According to the NHTSA, vehicles can be equipped with both front and side air bags (SABs). Frontal air bags have been standard equipment in all passenger cars since model year 1998 and in all SUVs, pickups and vans since model year 1999. SABs are being offered as standard or optional equipment on many new passenger vehicles.
Air bags reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during a crash. They prevent violent whiplash injuries and are supposed to offer protection for the head, neck and brain. To avoid an air-bag-related injury, make sure you are properly seated and remember—air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. And children under 13 should sit in the back seat.
That’s not to say airbags are perfect. They can cause injuries to the face, chest and shoulder and more. But at the same time, they have the potential to save a life in a violent collision.
231. Counterfeit and nonfunctional air bags prohibited; air bag fraud*
A. No person shall knowingly install or reinstall in any motor vehicle a counterfeit or nonfunctional air bag or any other object intended to fulfill the function of an air bag that does not meet the definition of “air bag” set forth in Subsection D of this Section.
B. No person shall knowingly manufacture, import, sell, or offer for sale a counterfeit or nonfunctional air bag or any other object intended to fulfill the function of an air bag that does not meet the definition of “air bag” set forth in Subsection D of this Section.
C. No person shall knowingly sell, install, or reinstall a device in a motor vehicle that causes the diagnostic system of the vehicle to indicate inaccurately that the vehicle is equipped with a functional air bag.
D. For purposes of this Section:
(1) “Air bag” means an inflatable occupant restraint system, including all component parts, such as the cover, sensors, controllers, inflators, and wiring, designed to activate in a motor vehicle in the event of a crash to mitigate injury or ejection and that meets the federal motor vehicle safety standards set forth in 49 C.F.R. 571.208 for the make, model, and model year of the motor vehicle.
(2) “Counterfeit air bag” means an air bag displaying a mark identically or substantially similar to the genuine mark of a motor vehicle manufacturer, without the authorization of the motor vehicle manufacturer.
(3) “Nonfunctional air bag” means any of the following:
(a) A replacement air bag that has been previously deployed or damaged.
(b) A replacement air bag that has an electrical fault that is detected by the air bag diagnostic system after the air bag is installed.
(c) A counterfeit air bag, air bag cover, or some other object that is installed in a motor vehicle in order to mislead or deceive an owner or operator of the motor vehicle into believing that a functional air bag has been installed.
(4) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.
E. Whoever violates the provisions of Subsection A or C of this Section shall:
(1) Upon first conviction, be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, except as provided in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection.
(2) Upon a second and subsequent conviction, or if the violation results in the serious bodily injury or death of any person, be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than one year, or both.
F. Whoever violates the provisions of Subsection B of this Section shall:
(1) Upon conviction, be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than one year, or both, except as provided in Paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Subsection.
(2) Upon conviction, if the cumulative sales price of the air bags or objects involved in the violation is at least five thousand dollars but less than one hundred thousand dollars, or if the number of air bags or objects involved in the violation is at least one hundred but less than one thousand, be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than six months nor more than two years, or both.
(3) Upon conviction, if the cumulative sales price of the air bags or objects involved in the violation is one hundred thousand dollars or more, or if the number of air bags or objects involved in the violation is one thousand or more, be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year nor more than five years, or both.
G. Each manufacture, importation, installation, reinstallation, sale, or offer for sale in violation of this Section shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
Safety is of the utmost concern to the personal injury lawyers at Joseph Joy and Associates in Lafayette. If you or a loved one sustains a serious injury due to a defective airbag or an airbag that failed to deploy for some other reason, call the car accident lawyers at Joseph Joy and Associates for a free consultation. 337-232-8123