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States settle lawsuit against Takata, but won't collect the money

The State of the Takata Airbags

Michigan and 23 other states have settled their lawsuit against airbag maker Takata. 

But the states aren't going to try to collect the money. 

Takata is going bankrupt, so it has limited money for fines, paying automakers for recalls, and compensating victims. 

The states won't go after the $650 million settlement to protect the funds that are available for victims. Twenty-two people have been killed and hundreds of people have been injured with the defective Takata airbags in their vehicles deployed with too much force, spraying them with metal fragments.

A post-bankruptcy Takata subsidiary will keep building replacement airbags for a long time -- millions more vehicles still have the potentially deadly airbags in them.

Some pose more danger than others. Ford recently told owners of 30,000 Ford Rangers built in 2006 to stop driving them immediately and have them towed to a dealership to get the airbags replaced.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a websitewhere people can learn about the Takata airbag issue and find out if their vehicle is among those recalled.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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