After being linked to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the U.S., Japanese airbag manufacturer, Takata Corp., could settle criminal charges with the U.S. Department of Justice before the Obama administration leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017.
The settlement would include Takata pleading guilty to charges of misconduct in relation to the deaths caused by its defective airbags and paying a $1 billion fine after the company admitted to manipulating airbag test results.
Claims of Takata hiding information from safety regulators and providing misleading statements about the quality of the company’s airbags are still begin investigated by the Justice Department.
Takata has been subject to the largest recall in U.S. auto history after its defective airbags were found to have caused the deaths of 16 people, 11 of which were in the U.S.
Approximately 29 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. for defective airbags, with the total number expected to reach 42 million. However, only a quarter of those vehicles have received the repairs needed to fix the defective airbags.
Automakers were ordered to quicken their recalls by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Dec. 9, 2016 for vehicles that had not yet been repaired. The NHTSA has given automakers a 2020 deadline to reach the recall numbers, however, the process is begin slowed down by the lack of inflators needed to complete the repairs.