On January 24, 2018, a woman was injured by her device after it exploded. The injury left the victim without feeling in one of her legs.
The company pleaded guilty to 2 misdemeanor charges and agreed to pay $1 million as part of a settlement with federal prosecutors on February 26th.
This is not Erdman’s first run-in with Takata; she has previously filed lawsuits against them for other injuries caused by their defective devices.,
On September 1, 2013, Stephanie Erdman’s life was forever altered. That’s when a car veered in front of Erdman’s 2002 Honda Civic, colliding with the other driver’s vehicle.
Metal shrapnel flew through Erdman’s Takata airbag and lodged itself in her right eye and neck when it deployed.
“On my right side, I was completely blinded.” Then I felt a rush of blood.”
During a Senate hearing on Takata airbag issues in November 2014, she said, “I was suddenly blinded on my right side.” “Then I felt a rush of blood.” It was a terrible experience. I was afraid I was going to pass out.”
Hold Takata responsible
Erdman is a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
The collision happened just outside of Destin, Florida, on Highway 98. Erdman, a United States Air Force first lieutenant, was on her way from neighboring Eglin Air Force Base, where she was stationed at the time.
Erdman arrived in Florida through Bexar County, Texas. She is a University of Texas system graduate as well as an ROTC graduate. As a member of the Air Force, Eglin was one of her first duty sites. She worked for the Air Force Testing and Evaluations Command as a compliance and testing officer.
Erdman purchased her 2002 Civic from a Bexar County Honda retailer. On that fateful September day, she was on her way to the grocery store when her Takata airbags blew.
Stephanie Erdman testifies before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Takata airbags.
There was no notice that an airbag was defective.
Stephanie Erdman’s Civic had traits that made it highly susceptible to a Takata airbag explosion, but she had no idea. Erdman had no knowledge that Takata had issued a recall at all.
She said, “They never notified me about the recall.” “They never fixed my car as per the recall.” And they never told me what would happen if my air bag went off.”
“I was never informed of the recall.” My vehicle’s recall repair was never completed.”
The car was registered and driven in two states: Texas and Florida, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deems to be in “Zone A,” or places with extreme heat and humidity.
The Takata airbag propellant ammonium nitrate has degraded due to moisture and temperature, resulting in extremely powerful deployments that rip the metal airbag housing and shower shrapnel into the cabin.
Long-term exposure to the extreme heat and humidity of Zone A has been linked to an increased risk of Takata airbag failure, which is why the NHTSA expedited the Takata recall for this area.
Erdman’s car was also part of a group of Honda and Acura automobiles equipped with Takata inflators that are up to 50% likely to explode during deployment.
The Dealership Failed to Replace Airbags on Several Occasions
Erdman couldn’t have known at the time of her September 2013 accident that her Civic’s airbag had a 50/50 risk of rupturing since the NHTSA didn’t make the announcement until June 2016.
Despite this, Erdman told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that she drove her Civic to the dealership three times for servicing after the dealership got her car’s recall notice. The airbags were never replaced.
Erdman did ultimately get direct warning from Honda regarding the Takata airbag problem. On September 4, 2013, three days after her accident, a message was left on her phone.
Hold Takata responsible
Erdman considers himself fortunate to be alive.
Stephanie Erdman has had many surgeries and physical rehabilitation since her injury.
She told the Senate Committee, “My eyesight will never be the same.” “I’ll never be the same after this.”
Erdman realizes that things might have been a lot worse, despite his physical and emotional scars. Erdman has a piece of metal buried in her bleeding face in the horrible photos of her post-accident injuries. People are baffled as to how she managed to survive the accident.
She told CBS News, “I was one of the fortunate ones.”
Others haven’t been that fortunate. Takata airbags have killed at least 14 individuals and wounded more than 150 others. Several Takata airbag lawsuits have resulted from these fatal events.
During her Senate testimony, Erdman acknowledged the “many persons, along with their families and friends, who have suffered as a result of these terrible airbags.”
Erdman begged the Committee to “do all in its ability to ensure that each and every car impacted by this flaw is made safe” in her last remarks to the Committee, choking back tears.
Only little more than half of recalled Takata airbags have been fixed three years after Stephanei Erdman’s airbag almost killed her.
- how fast does an airbag deploy