The Japanese airbag maker, Takata Corp. -- which became famous for manufacturing deadly airbags that spew hot metal shrapnel into car compartments -- has pleaded guilty to wire fraud. The auto parts maker has also agreed to a $1 billion payment for its concealment of the fact millions of defective and dangerous airbags were installed in vehicles throughout the world.
In a monumental plea deal, Takata and the U.S. Justice Department agreed to the above terms in a federal courthouse in Detroit on a recent Monday. The guilty plea was entered by Takata's chief financial officer (CFO). In submitting the plea, the CFO said that some of his employee's actions had been deeply inappropriate.
Sadly, 11 people have died as a confirmed result of defective Takata Airbags in the United States. However, it's more than possible that many additional, unconfirmed deaths have also happened as a result of these explosive and deadly safety devices, which Takata lied to customers about for over 10 years, concealing the fact that the airbag inflators could explode and shoot deadly metal shards onto drivers and passengers inside the vehicles.
The judge in the case said that a $1.5 billion fine would have been appropriate; however, he felt that this level of fine would have bankrupted Takata. The judge said that an outcome like that would be fair, but victims of the dangerous airbags would have a harder time receiving their fair compensation for the tragedy.
New York residents who have been mysteriously injured in a relatively minor car crash after their airbags deployed may want to investigate how those injuries occurred. If a defective airbag caused the injuries, injured drivers and passengers might be able to seek financial compensation in court.
Source: NPR, "Takata Pleads Guilty In Air Bag Scheme, Will Pay $1 Billion In Penalties," Feb. 28, 2017