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Senators Call for Criminal Investigation of Takata Airbag Recall

Posted by copeland on November 4, 2014

Deployed car airbag

Two United States Senators, Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are calling on the Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation into the alleged cover up of a deadly default in automobile airbags blamed for at least three deaths in the US. Some 7.8 million airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata and installed in American-owned vehicles were recalled in June (an initial recall had been issued in 2009). Evidence revealed in a New York Times investigative report suggests that Takata officials not only knew about the defect as early as 2004, but also ordered the company's engineers to destroy all related data and physical evidence.

"Reports that Takata concealed and destroyed test results revealing fatal air bag defects, along with other evidence that the company was aware of these deadly problems, clearly require a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice," Markey and Blumenthal wrote in their request for a DOJ investigation. "If the reports are true, the company must be held accountable for the horrific deaths and injuries that its wrongdoing caused. These allegations are credible and shocking – plainly warranting a prompt and aggressive criminal probe."

Recalled airbags can deploy, even in a minor crash, sending sharp-edged shrapnel flying through a vehicle's cabin and causing stab-like wounds in a driver or passenger's face, neck and chest areas. The issue is to blame for the death of three in America, including an Orlando woman killed last month in a case that initially baffled police, paramedics and an emergency room doctor.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol crash report, Hein suffered massive bleeding.

Hein "had two or three deep cuts on her right side of her neck that were not consistent with crash injuries," the report stated. "There were no windows broken ... that would cause sharp glass to penetrate a human's body. Therefore, the force of the crash was not significant enough to cause great bodily harm to any occupant in both vehicles."

A week after her death, Hein's family received the recall notice from Honda to replace her 2001 Accord sedan's air bag. Two weeks afterward, investigators announced their conclusion that Hein's fatal injuries were caused by internal parts of the ruptured airbag tearing through Hein's neck and trachea.

If you own or drive one of the makes and models of vehicles below and have not suffered an airbag-related injury, we urge you to take your vehicle to the nearest dealership for repair. If you or your family members have suffered an injury or loss that you believe may be related to the defective Takata airbag, get medical treatment and contact a product liability attorney with Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates at 407-999-8995.

BMW

  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler

  • 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
  • 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
  • 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford

  • 2004 – Ranger
  • 2005 – 2006 GT
  • 2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors

  • 2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
  • 2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda

  • 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)
  • 2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
  • 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 – Honda Ridgeline
  • 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
  • 2005 – Acura RL

Nissan

  • 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
  • 2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
  • 2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
  • 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
  • 2003 – Infiniti FX

Mazda

  • 2003 – 2007 Mazda6
  • 2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
  • 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
  • 2004 – 2005 MPV
  • 2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi

  • 2004 – 2005 Lancer
  • 2006 – 2007 Raider

Subaru

  • 2003 – 2005 Baja
  • 2003 – 2005 Legacy
  • 2003 – 2005 Outback
  • 2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota

  • 2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra