Airbag Tragedies, Public Safety Threat, And Questionable Governance of Crisis

Airbag Tragedies, Public Safety Threat, And Questionable Governance of Crisis

October, 2014

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Growing Alarm NBC News issued an alarming report of Toyota decision to disable passenger airbags and placing a sticker on the dashboard warning no one should ride in that seating position.  Watch video at

The Washington Post published a Front page report:

“More than 30 million cars and trucks nationwide are equipped with dangerously defective air bags, congressional officials say, a number that raises questions about whether the U.S. auto industry can handle what could become the largest recall in history.

Federal safety authorities have recalled only 7.8 million vehicles over the defect in a few states, a limited action that lawmakers said Thursday was vastly insufficient to address what they deemed “a public safety threat.”….  

“Driving her Honda Accord on Christmas Eve in 2009, Gurjit Rathore, a 33-year-old Virginia mother, was struck in the neck by pieces of an exploding air bag and bled to death in front of her three children, according to a lawsuit filed by her family.””  See

Investigations & Timelines
The NY Times reports

“Separately on Wednesday, Representative Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he would ask government regulators to explain their handling of the Takata airbag recalls “to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect drivers and their families.”

The committee would “take a close look at this airbag issue and the timeline and scope of the recalls,” Mr. Upton said in a statement.” See{%221%22%3A%22RI%3A9%22}

In January, 2014, Reuters published a Report on Honda/Takata airbag problems:“Takata has acknowledged to U.S. safety regulators that it improperly stored chemicals and botched the manufacture of the explosive propellants used to inflate airbags. It also has conceded to Reuters that, in at least one case, it kept inadequate quality-control records, which meant that hundreds of thousands of cars had to be recalled to find what might have been only a small number of faulty airbags, a decade after they were made….In August 2009, U.S. safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Honda why the second, larger recall, announced weeks after Parham’s accident, was not included in the smaller 2008 action. Three months later, NHTSA opened an inquiry into whether Honda and Takata recalled vehicles fast enough. By May 2010, NHTSA closed the probe, saying the companies had handled the recalls appropriately. In a statement to Reuters, the safety agency said it was satisfied with the responses of Takata and its automaker customers.” See
On October 23, 2014, Safety Research & Strategies published a Report on the Crisis with a Timeline of who knew what, when.  “This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a Consumer Advisory urging “owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags.” The announcement was accompanied by an agency web page with an incomplete list of vehicles under recall, as well as mistakenly naming 14 GM models equipped with Autoliv airbags that were once recalled in 2002. The recalls, investigations and complaints look-up functions on its website were inoperable. Toyota announced that it would disable defective airbags in some affected vehicles until replacement parts were available and Acting Administrator David Friedman told The New York Times concurred, under the logic that a vehicle with no airbag was better than one that might spray the occupants with shrapnel upon deployment.” 
Additional resources are available from Center for Auto Safety at
Governance Questions
People ask:
*  Who is responsible?
*  Why did this happen?
*  Why weren’t we told sooner?
*  What do I do now?
*  When will I be able to be safe?
*  When the NHTSA watchdog behaves as a lap dog for more than a decade, what is the public to do?
The American people deserve good answers.


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