Posted On September 26, 2016 In Personal Injury
Did you know that in 2014, more than 62 million vehicles were recalled for defective parts? Despite a massive number of recalls over the last two years, many of us do not receive repairs and continue to drive unsafe vehicles. Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest 45 million recalled vehicles are still unrepaired. Some of these defects can have horrific consequences for car owners, such as Takata airbag inflators, which are estimated to affect one in every four cars in the US.
Takata’s defective airbag inflators cause airbags to explode with excessive force, sending shrapnel into the faces of drivers. This can happen even during minor collisions. In a recent video posted by www.consumerwatch.com, a man who was seriously injured by Takata airbags tells his story. According to the man, he was driving his 2003 Honda Civic at 15 miles per hour when he collided with another vehicle. The airbag inflators deployed and sent shrapnel into his face. He lost an eye.
Other people are not as lucky. A 17-year-old from Texas was killed by a defective Takata airbag earlier this year during a collision. She was driving a 2002 Honda Civic in Fort Bend, Texas when the accident occurred.
What makes this auto defect dangerous is that Takata airbag inflators become unstable in humid weather. Takata airbag inflators use ammonium nitrate to inflate airbags. Some of these inflators lack drying agents that absorb moisture, meaning humidity can cause the inflators to become unstable and explode with excessive force.
Auto recall notices sent by manufacturers do not always reach consumers. This is because the vast majority of recall notices are sent by mail. Fortunately, NHTSA is seeking to change this and will require auto manufacturers to reach out to consumers via email, social media, text message and by telephone within the next year.
Recall information is posted on NHTSA’s website, www.safercar.gov. You will need your vehicle identification number (VIN), which is located where the windshield meets the driver’s side dashboard. It may also be on your insurance card or title for the vehicle.
Once you have your VIN, plug it into NHTSA’s website. You should receive search results that display any past and present recalls for your vehicle. If your vehicle has Takata airbags, NHTSA’s website would let you know.
Dealerships will repair vehicles with recalled auto parts for free. They are obligated to do so under federal law. The only place you should drive vehicles with defective auto parts is straight to the dealership (unless NHTSA says otherwise). Even minor car accidents can cause these airbags to deploy, especially after being exposed to severe heat and humidity for the last several months.
The Texas personal injury attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC can help people and families who have been harmed by defective auto parts.