Takata airbags installed in millions of U.S. vehicles across over 30 brands are now subject to a massive recall. Affected vehicles may contain defective, potentially deadly airbag inflators.
Last month, a 17-year-old from Texas died in a low-speed collision when the Takata airbag inflator inside the steering wheel exploded and launched shrapnel straight at her. Unfortunately, Huma Hanif died within a matter of seconds when a piece of metal cut her neck. Honda said in a statement that Hanif and her family had been informed that the vehicle was subject to a recall, but the family said that they had no idea.
Ten other drivers have died from Takata airbag injuries. As a result, 24 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. Less than 8 million of which have been replaced, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Luckily, the NHTSA has a very simple Vehicle Lookup database where you can check to see if your vehicle is involved in the recall. You can access it by clicking here.
If Your Vehicle Is Involved in the Airbag Recall:
You should contact your dealer as soon as possible to make an appointment to get the airbag inflator replaced.
The NHTSA’s Recalls Lookup Tool also lets you see whether or not the airbags can be repaired now. If the inflator parts are available, a message will display in red that the recall is “incomplete.” If they are not, it will display the message, “incomplete-parts not available.”
The defective part that must be replaced is called the airbag inflator, and can be seen in the diagram below.
Using Your Vehicle While Waiting:
If the parts required are not available yet or you cannot get an appointment immediately, the NHTSA says you can still drive your car and that the vast majority of Takata airbags will perform as expected.
The story above may have prompted you to think that your airbags are dangerous and should be disabled, but that is not the case. According to the NHTSA frontal airbags saved nearly 2,400 lives in 2014 alone.
By all means, drive carefully to avoid a crash (as you always should).
Still, keep in mind that vehicles equipped with airbags (including Takata air bags under recall) save lives and reduce injuries. It is far more likely that in the event of a crash, your airbag will perform properly and protect you than explode and injure you.
If you still do not feel comfortable driving your vehicle because of the recall, you should contact your dealer and ask for a loaner until an interim or a final repair is completed. Not all dealers offer loaner cars, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Since this recall involves so many car makes and models, we urge you to share this post with your loved ones.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice? Contact Howard Blau.
Atiyeh, Clifford & Blackwell, Rusty. “Massive Takata Airbag Recall: Everything You Need to Know, Including Full List of Affected Vehicles.” Car and Driver. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017, from http://blog.caranddriver.com/massive-takata-airbag-recall-everything-you-need-to-know-including-full-list-of-affected-vehicles/
Campbell, Kyle. “Takata Airbag Recall: A Complete List of Affected Vehicles.” New York Daily News. Daily News, 19 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017, from http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/news/takata-airbag-recall-list-cars-article-1.2602999
Jablonski, Sidney. “How an airbag works.” Behance. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2017, from https://www.behance.net/gallery/10012521/Airbag-Diagram
“Takata Air Bags.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. United States Department of Transportation, 19 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/recall-spotlight/takata-air-bags