The case against Takata Corp., the manufacturers of car air bags and air bag inflators, reached a milestone in early January. The company agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal charge with far-reaching implications for the company. Takata will pay a stunning $1 billion in fines and restitution for its role in concealing a deadly defect in its air bag inflators.
Why Are Takata Air Bags Defective?
The air bag inflators in affected cars have the potential to inflate explosively, which has led to many injuries and deaths. The explosive nature of the air bags is due to the ammonium nitrate that inflates the bag. The chemical is affected by time, temperature fluctuations and moisture, especially in humid areas of the country. The explosions can result in metal shrapnel flying into drivers and passengers in the affected vehicles. Over 42 million are affected. Takata air bags can be found in dozens of car makes and models, including Hondas, Chevrolets, Audis, BMWs and Fords. If you can think of a modern car, chances are some version of it could have Takata air bags.
The vast majority of the $1 billion fines will be paid to automakers that purchased the inflators. Another $25 million will be paid in criminal fines. The remaining $125 million will be awarded to individuals who were injured or killed by the air bags.
Payments to individuals and their families will begin rolling out soon. Payments to automakers must be paid within five days of Takata’s anticipated sale or merger sometime this year.
Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”