Nebraska and 43 other states have settled their investigation into Japanese auto parts maker Takata.
Attorney General Doug Peterson on Thursday said the states, along with the District of Columbia, had agreed to a settlement with TK Holdings, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Takata, over allegations that the company concealed safety issues related to its airbag systems that were installed in a wide variety of vehicles.
The faulty airbags, which were prone to exploding with too much force in a crash, have been linked to hundreds of injuries and at least 22 deaths around the world.
The problems triggered the largest automotive recall in history, with more than 50 million airbags in more than 37 million vehicles recalled to date. That number is expected to grow to near 70 million airbags by the end of next year.
The airbag problems also forced Takata into bankruptcy last year, and a Delaware judge last week approved the company's reorganization plan.
As part of the settlement, the states agreed to waive a $650 million civil penalty against the company because of its bankruptcy and in order to maximize funds available to compensate people who were injured by the airbags.
“Our goals were to protect Nebraska consumers and to ensure this never happens again.” Peterson said in a news release. “We feel those goals were accomplished. This settlement sends a strong message that behavior that endangers consumers will not be ignored.”
Also as part of the deal, Takata agreed not to represent its air bags as safe unless supported by scientific evidence, not to falsify any testing data and to keep cooperating with automakers to make sure replacement inflators are available. It also will not sell any air bags that use ammonium nitrate unless it's for recall replacement parts. Some of the provisions already were included in an agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As part of a criminal plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, Takata agreed to pay victims $125 million and another $850 million in restitution to automakers who bought its inflators and are stuck with recall and litigation costs. Under the restructuring plan, Takata will sell most of its non-air bag assets to a Chinese-owned rival for $1.6 billion.