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Takata Corp fined $70M for producing faulty vehicle airbags

If you're like hundreds of other vehicle owners in Maryland, then you may have received a recall notice in the last few months directing you to get your airbag replaced at your local dealership. While some vehicle owners brush off recall notices because of the inconvenience factor, this is not a recall notice our Upper Marlboro readers should ignore.

For those who are unfamiliar with the recall notice, it concerns vehicle manufacturers that receive airbags from a company called Takata Corp. Considered one of the world's largest airbag producers, Takata became embroiled in litigation recently after a defect was discovered in the airbag. According to reports, the defect lies in the airbag's inflator casing, which can malfunction, causing it to "rupture violently, sending shards flying into the passenger cabin." So far, the faulty airbags have been linked to at least eight deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Though implementing the airbag recall may put some of our readers' minds at ease, some individuals may wonder if Takata will be held liable for putting such a dangerous product on the market. The answer is yes. So far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined the company $70 million for concealing research that could have prevented these injuries and deaths. On top of that, Takata may still have to pay out compensation to those who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones because of the company's negligence.

Though stories like this are bittersweet, they remind us of why companies need to be held to such high safety standards. It also illustrates the importance of holding manufacturers liable for damages, especially if such a penalty could prevent a future disaster from happening again.

Sources: The New York Times, "Honda Drops Takata as U.S. Issues Huge Fine Over Airbags," Hiroko Tabuchi and Danielle Ivory, Nov. 3, 2015

Consumer Reports, "Everything you need to know about the Takata airbag recall," Nov. 3, 2015

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