One of the largest and most complex automotive safety recalls in history just got bigger. The New Year got underway with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announcing a further expansion of the Takata air bag recall, which has already affected an estimated 34 million vehicles in the U.S.
The Takata air bag recall began in May 2016 based on previous reports of air bags malfunctioning. The problem stems from a chemical used in the air bag inflator to create rapid deployment during a motor vehicle accident. According to news reports, the chemical can deteriorate in hot, humid environments, burning too fast and causing a metal canister to explode, sending shrapnel into the vehicle cabin. NHTSA, which is managing the Takata air bag recall, has added approximately 3.3 million more vehicles to the list.
Is your car among them?
The latest Takata air bag recall expansion covers frontal air bags in 2009, 2010, and 2013 vehicles made by a long list of motor vehicle manufacturers. They include Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, and Toyota.
The multiyear recall has been so expansive that the air bag manufacturer couldn’t keep up with the demand for replacement airbags. News reports state more than 20 people have been killed around the world and at least 120 injured by the faulty Takata air bag inflators.
Automakers have been slow to replace the airbags, even though Takata has been recalling them since as far back as 2001. Estimates suggest less than half the vehicles with faulty air bags driving on our roads today have had the necessary Takata recall work completed. That is a sobering thought, as motorists depend on their vehicles’ air bags to prevent injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle crash — not cause injury or worse.
Maryland drivers, if you have a car model year 2009, 2010 or 2013 made by any one of the above manufacturers (or if you haven’t checked before), check out the NHTSA webpages below to see if your vehicle is on the recall list. Manufacturers are required to replace the air bags for free, but be forewarned: there could be a long wait. Currently automobiles in states with hot temperatures and high humidity are receiving priority for the replacement air bags. NHTSA is monitoring the progress of automakers in replacing all defective air bags in all vehicles affected.
Related Maryland Injury Attorney Article:
Maryland Drivers : Does Takata Air Bag Recall Include Your Vehicle? (June 2015)
NHTSA: List of Vehicles by Manufacturer
Takata air bags recall expands to 3.3 million vehicles
CBSNews.com Jan. 7, 2018