Tens of thousands of cars with defective Takata airbags are still on the roadways and more recalls are expected through 2019. The airbags are responsible for 22 deaths worldwide, 20 of those in the United States and thousands of injuries. The airbags can explode with too much force, thanks to the ammonium nitrate detonator, sending shrapnel flying into drives and passengers with lethal results. Big Island Now reports on how Hawai’i has reached a multi-million-dollar settlement with Takata over the faulty airbags.
Hawai’i was the first state to file a lawsuit against Takata and its U.S. subsidiary, TK Holdings in 2016. The island state, along with the U.S. Virgin Islands, two other jurisdictions, and New Mexico will be receiving an approximately $7 million-dollar settlement. Hawai’i will receive a large share of that settlement, approximately $3 million.
Hawai’i filed the suit against both Takata and Honda for allegedly knowing advertising airbags they were aware were defective. The state followed up in May 2017 by filing lawsuits against three other automakers – Toyota, Nissan, and Ford Motor Company.
The lawsuits allege that the automakers were aware that the chemical used to detonate the airbags, ammonium nitrate, was unstable. They further alleged that the automakers used the chemical because it was cheaper. The lawsuit also contends that the companies were aware that the chemical degraded more quickly in hot and humid climates like Hawai’i.
While the settlement resolves the litigation against Takata, the state is continuing to pursue litigation against the four automakers.
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