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Guest Post by Baron & Budd Shareholder and Former American Association of Justice President Burton LeBlanc
I am in Washington, DC today to attend the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade hearing regarding the status of the Takata airbag recall and related safety concerns.
The hearing has only just begun and we have already heard serious concerns, like that of U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clark, who reminded all of us about how difficult it was for consumers to learn about the necessary information in the initial months following the Takata recall. Ms. Clark then went on to repeat an often-heard, yet equally necessary wish: “I want to make sure that we learn from this lesson.”
I think we can all agree with Congresswoman Clark, and the other members of Congress who are voicing their concerns today in the hearing.
The Takata airbag recall was the biggest consumer recall in U.S. history. We were on the front lines of the Takata airbag lawsuit, and had reported the then breaking news regarding the millions of cars that were affected. At the time, we were looking at over 14 million cars and vans.
Today, that number has grown to an astronomical 34 million. That number is so large that it may involve one out of every four cars on the road.
If you are worried about your car’s airbags, you may use the government website, safercar.gov in order to learn whether or not your car may be involved in the lawsuit.
Unfortunately, the recall is so expansive that Takata is having a difficult time manufacturing all of the needed replacement parts. In fact, Takata is expected to take 2.5 years to produce all of the replacement parts. At this time, that means that the focus is still on cars in high heat and/or high humidity areas, like Houston and Miami.
The House hearing today is centered on these repairs, with two main concerns in mind:
One: How are the replacement parts being installed different from the defective parts
Two: How long will the repairs take?
The questions are being posed to the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as a top executive at Takata. We all look forward to hearing the answers.