Takata begins restitution payments to inflator victims

Driver of vehicles with faulty airbags manufactured by Takata will collectively receive nearly $9.8 million (RM41 million) froma restitution fund a part of the auto parts supplier’s guilt plea for the production of airbag inflators which have been known to inflate with excessive force, with injuries and deaths resulting, according to The Detroit News.

The first round of payments going to 102 recipients would range from $643.40 (RM2,693.70) up to $608,013 (RM2.5 million), said the United States District Court in the eastern district of Michigan as quoted by the news site. Payments were calculated from a formula which awarded points worth $64.34 each to driver who filed claims for injuries sustained from faulty Takata airbags.

Points were awarded by a special master to oversee the restitution fund, based on “injury categories in an injury valuation matrix and certain other factors”, the report said. Recalls for Takata airbags have comprised nearly 13% of all registered vehicles in the US, where faulty Takata inflators have ben linked to 16 deaths and more than 25 injuries, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

A recall campaign for the Japanese parts maker’s airbags in February this year found a further 1.7 million vehicles with faulty inflators including brands such as Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi. In Malaysia, over 500,000 cars have been found to have faulty Takata inflators as of October last year.

Recalls for faulty Takata airbag inflators date back as far as 2010, when Honda identified the problem to be excessive moisture intake by the inflator propellant, causing the propellant to break down and deploy airbags with more force than intended.

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