Potentially deadly driver-side airbags made at Takata’s now-closed LaGrange, Georgia plant have prompted Toyota and Honda to widen their recall of vehicles, and the U.S. has given Takata a deadline of Tuesday to declare the airbags defective and widen its recall. The LaGrange plant, about an hour southwest of Atlanta, was closed in 2005 as the company moved operations to Mexico. Passenger-side airbags were the subject of the initial recall. At least five deaths have been linked to the airbags, which can shoot metal shards when they explode.
Georgia also has strong ties to two other massive recalls of vehicles implicated in multiple deaths. In Decatur County, a judge has ordered the CEO of Fiat Chrysler to give testimony in lawsuit filed by the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden, who died when the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was in was hit from behind and exploded. Last year, 1.5 million Jeeps were recalled because of the risk that the fuel tanks would rupture and explode if hit. There were more than 50 deaths related to the issue.
This past spring, an investigation by Marietta attorney Lance Cooper revealed that ignition switches in GM vehicles were defective, prompting a recall of about 2.5 million vehicles. About three dozen deaths have been linked to the defect. Cooper was representing the family of Brooke Melton, 29, who was killed in 2010 when the ignition switch failed and she lost control of her Chevy Cobalt. GM initially settled the case, but the victim’s family later sued to have the settlement thrown out.