The biggest auto recall in United States history, involving over 50 million Takata airbags installed in cars, trucks, and SUVs from 19 different automakers, continues to haunt U.S. drivers and the company which manufactured them. Takata airbags’ defective inflators can turn the device into a mini grenade which fires deadly shrapnel into the chests of unsuspecting drivers, leading to serious injuries caused by airbag deployment. And the grim number of injuries and deaths continues to rise.
What is now the biggest auto recall in U.S. history began in 2008 — and some say the problem goes back even further than that. 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries, leading to wrongful death lawsuits. And more than 26 million potentially deadly airbags still need to be replaced. The areas at highest risk are places dominated by humidity and warm temperatures: Puerto Rico, Florida, Louisiana, parts of California, and – oh yes – Texas.
The Takata airbag recall may not be front-page news on days when there’s nothing to add to the vehicle defect accident body count. But trouble remains because too many people have not had their vehicle fixed. This is why a unique coalition is banding together to urge local motorists who still have deadly Takata airbags in their vehicles to act now by replacing them.
The fact that two of the 15 American fatalities were Houston-area residents has not been lost on the volunteers who have been canvassing the city – some even going door to door – searching for drivers who have yet to replace their Takata airbags. Once found, the volunteers help them schedule the repairs, which seldom take longer than a couple of hours.
This coalition of elected community leaders, auto dealers, and industry executives, together with officials of Consumers Union – the advocacy division of Consumer Reports – banded together in early March 2018 to help match those who need their airbags replaced with dealership technicians who will perform the (free) replacements.
Even though the consequences from driving with the recalled airbags have been known for several years, millions of Texas drivers still haven’t had them changed out. It is hoped that this first-time coalition of private industry representatives and elected leaders will “move the needle” toward complete replacement of all Takata airbags.
David Friedman, Consumers Union Director of Cars and Product Policy and Analysis, says, “Manufacturers need to do more to help people understand how deadly these air bags are. But at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to get your car fixed right away if it’s got one of these defective Takata airbags.” The automakers involved in the Takata airbag recalls have provided specific models in paperwork filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and notices of these expanded recalls have been posted on the NHTSA’s website. Click here for the latest on the recalls from Consumer Reports, including access to the VIN number database.
Once you schedule your airbag replacement, check with your auto insurance company and ask if you can be fully or partially reimbursed for a car rental while your vehicle is parked, awaiting the airbag replacement.
Contact the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant if you have been hurt by a defective Takata airbag or other dangerous consumer product. You can reach us 24/7/365 through our site or at toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to schedule a free consultation.