MIAMI (CBSMiami) –The company behind defective airbags linked to injures, deaths even a lawsuit in South Florida may have known about the problem a decade ago and said nothing.
The New York Times reported startling information from two former Takata employees. One of whom was a senior member of the company’s testing lab who uncovered evidence of a problem -he said- company executives ordered buried.
In South Florida, Attorney Jason Turchin filed suit against Takata, on behalf of Claribel Nunez, who was injured by a malfunctioning airbag that was supposed to save her in a crash.
“When the airbag deployed, this shot right out of the airbag and struck her in the forehead,” he said, referring to a piece of metal the size of a silver dollar. “Something shooting out of 100 miles per hour is just crazy,” he added.
Now, the paper reports Takata executives knew there were problems with their airbags back in 2004. That’s four years before the company admitted to issues with their airbags leading to the first recall over rupture risks.
The times report said the company discounted results of secret lab tests ordered at company headquarters that found steel inflators could crack, leading to ruptures, sending metal fragments into the car.
The results were so startling, engineers began designing possible fixes in the event of a recall.
But instead of alerting federal safety regulators to the danger, the paper reported Takata executed an ordered lab technicians to delete the testing data from their computers and dispose of airbag inflators in the trash.
A spokesman for Takata declined to comment for the New York Times report.
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