Airbags are a crucial part of every car's safety system. Ironically, they're also the subject of the largest auto-parts recall in history, which is currently underway.
While dealerships have already replaced millions of these defective airbags free of charge, that's only a small fraction of the total need. Literally millions of people are unwittingly driving these dangerous cars every day. If you're one of them, you could be in serious jeopardy.
Confirmed Injuries & Deaths
The defect in Takata airbags can cause them to explode when deploying, spraying shrapnel and metal shards from the cartridge used to inflate them. More than 20 people have died from these airbag explosions so far, while hundreds more have suffered injuries.
Unprecedented Scale, Lagging Repairs
This recall is without parallel in the automotive world, affecting 100 million cars manufactured between 2002 and 2015. In fact, it's so big that Takata had to file for bankruptcy to reimburse the vast array of car manufacturers that had used its product.
Unfortunately, repairs have been as slow as the recall is large. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there are still 30 million unrepaired vehicles on the road in the United States, with a number of those under a Do Not Drive warning. These vehicles are largely concentrated in dense urban areas, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Riverside-San Bernardino.
Is My Airbag Under Recall?
The Takata airbag recall affects many different cars and trucks throughout the country. Here's how to check if you should have your vehicle repaired:
- Visit NHTSA.gov and search using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- If your vehicle is subject to the recall, contact a local dealer to schedule a repair. This will be free of charge. Vehicles under a Do Not Drive warning will receive a free tow, as well.
- Sign up for free recall alerts, which will ensure that you know about any future dangers.
Used car dealers have a responsibility to sell safe cars and should inform you whether the airbag has been replaced under the Takata recall. If they tell you it has and you later determine it wasn't, you may have a dealership fraud or lemon law claim on your hands.
Safety can be an expensive thing to maintain. Unfortunately, this means that many people will cut corners to make a profit instead. If that happens, a knowledgeable attorney will be your best advocate.