April 2016 Update
Takata Airbags claim their 10th victim
Seventeen year old Huma Hanif lost her life on March 31st, 2016 in a minor collision in Texas. The driver had been wearing her seatbelt when she rear-ended a Honda CR-V, but shrapnel released from her car’s defective airbag sliced open her carotid artery, creating yet another avoidable road tragedy. County Sheriff’s Deputy, Danny Beckwith, said “Everybody should have walked away from this.” On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) pronounced Huma Hanif as the tenth victim of Takata airbags.
What is Honda doing?
Having sent out 12.8 million direct and automated phone calls, 11.9 million postcards, 9.9 million mailers, and 4.5 million emails, along with additional efforts, Honda is trying to alert all of the those with defective airbags about the danger and the recall. Huma Hanif’s 2002 Honda Civic had been recalled back in 2011, but was not repaired.
What should owners’ of recalled vehicles do?
Despite Honda’s effort to reach out to the possible 36 million defective vehicles, not everyone has heard the news–and not everyone can get the repair. NHTSA Communication Director said anyone driver who received a recall notice should get the repair immediately. However,supply is not meeting demand and some dealerships are saying it would take months for complete the repair.
Takata Airbag Recall: The Facts
Takata Corporation, a manufacturing company located in Japan, announced that it produced faulty airbags in April 2013. Now, in August, 2015, Takata airbags are responsibility for an estimated 100 injuries and for the death of eight people. Initially, Takata believed 6 car models but the list continued to grow. Now it is believed 34.000.000 cars may be equipped with a dangerous Takata airbag, and Floridians must be particularly cautious.
Of the eight fatalities, one was a woman living in Florida and up to 70% of the airbag recalls have occurred in Florida. Experts theorize that, due to some mishandled chemicals, heavy humidity and heat increases the chance your airbag will malfunction.
Takata Airbag Recall: The Problem
Most of those 34 million airbags will work fine. Reports say the airbags themselves are not harmful to drivers or passengers, unless the driver is in an accident and a faulty inflator deploys. The airbags with defective inflators may shoot shrapnel at the driver’s or passenger’s face and, in extreme cases, can even cut throats.
Takata Airbag Recall: The Solution
It’s important to know if your car is at risk, especially if your a resident of a humid or warm place. You can check to if your car is part of the airbag recall at this link, which is a search tool that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created. Using your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can search to see if your car’s airbag should be replaced. Here is a list of car brands and models the airbag recall has affected.
Though Takata has promised to replace all 34 million potentially faulty air bags, the list of cars keeps growing. Despite Takata’s plan to manufacture 1,000,000 airbags a month by September 2015, it will still take years to replace all the airbags.
If you’re worried about driving your car while waiting for the recall, here are some measures you can take.
- If the defective airbag is the passenger seat, consider having your local auto center deactivate the airbag and place a warning sign on the seat, to ensure no one uses it until the airbag has been replaced
- If the defective airbag is on the driver’s seat, consider renting a car, carpooling, using public transportation, or, as a last resort, driving as little as possible.
With such a high number of recalls in Florida, it is imperative to address this problem. The good thing is the repair of a recall is free. So why not call up your local car dealer and schedule an appointment to get your free new airbag?