WASHINGTON, D.C. — Approximately 15.9 million Takata airbags have not been repaired despite the longstanding recall the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said recently. By the close of 2019, about 36 million Takata airbags were replaced since the beginning of the first recall campaign. Out of those 36 million, 7.5 million airbags were repaired in 2019 alone, according to a news report appearing on the news website MySanAntonio.com. The significance of the information released by the NHTSA is that the agency is having a difficult time locating the vehicles that have not had the repairs completed because the vehicles are much older but remain in circulation.
The Takata airbags were recalled several years ago after authorities and safety regulators determined that the components of the airbags erode in higher heat and humidity. The airbags that had components eroded would violently erupt when deployed in an accident. The explosion would send shrapnel through the airbag and into the body of the person hitting the airbag. The shrapnel would enter the body at extremely high speeds and cause significant injury or death. The NHTSA reported that 16 people in the U.S. died from exploding Takata airbags. Critically, 13 of those victims were driving either a Honda Civic or a Honda Accord when they died tragically.
Despite Herculean efforts to contact every owner of every vehicle still under recall, there are still almost 16 million cars with time bombs hidden in the steering wheels. Vehicle manufacturers have learned that registration data is frequently erroneous, which is understood to be the primary reason why the recall repairs have not been completed on these cars.
The NHTSA provided some helpful information to people who believe they could be driving a car that is under the Takata airbag recall. The NHTSA asks vehicle owners to check the car’s VIN against the agency’s recall database. Vehicle owners can also join recall mailing lists to stay up-to-date on auto recalls, and they can bring their car to the manufacturer’s dealership for recall repairs.
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