Vehicle owners who aren’t sure whether their vehicles are under a Takata airbag recall can always check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) website to see. In fact, the administration recently made upgrades to that website to help give visitors more information about the recall, and where it stands now.
NHTSA Gives Consumers More Info on Takata Airbag Recalls
According to a November 29, 2017 news release, the administration has added improved search functions to their website that allow consumers to:
- view Takata airbag repair rates by priority group (older cars that “live” in areas of high temperature and high humidity are considered to be at a higher risk of airbag explosions),
- view repair rates over time for each affected vehicle manufacturer,
- view repair rates for different types of airbags, including driver side, passenger side, and more,
- perform more advanced searches using recall campaign numbers.
The NHTSA states that these changes are to keep the American public “informed of the most current status of the recalls.” There are about 34 million vehicles currently involved in Takata recalls, and about 46 million defective Takata airbags. That number will go up to about 65-70 million by December 2019, when additional airbags are scheduled to be recalled. (Many airbag inflators that were already replaced will have to be replaced again.)
The administration advises consumers to visit www.nhtsa.gov to find out if their vehicles are under recall, and if so, to call a local dealer to schedule a free repair. They note that there are priority groups for which vehicles are to be repaired first, so parts are available for certain vehicles only at certain times.
Consumers can also go to www.NHTSA.gov/Alerts to sign up for e-mail notification for future recalls.
NHTSA Keeping a Close Eye on Takata Airbag Repairs
The Takata airbag recall is the largest in U.S. history and has presented consistent challenges for consumers and automakers alike. In November 2015, the NHTSA got involved by establishing a “Coordinated Remedy Program.” That’s where they prioritized certain vehicles as needing repairs first, and created groups for other vehicles believed to be less at risk for unstable airbag inflators.
The NHTSA also retained an Independent Monitor to assist in overseeing and monitoring the program, and to help coordinate communications with the affected automakers and provide recommendations for outreach efforts, to increase consumer awareness of the issue.
The administration says that as the year draws to a close, “there is an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned, and to identify and embrace those activities that have proven most successful as we move forward.”
So far, defective Takata airbag inflators have caused 13 confirmed fatalities in the U.S., including an 18-year-old woman who died in May 2009, after her 2001 Honda Accord bumped into another vehicle in the parking lot. The airbag inflator exploded, and she died at the scene as a result of metal shrapnel puncturing an artery in her neck.
There have also been hundreds of confirmed injuries from Takata inflators across 27 U.S. states and territories. In many of these cases, the victims became permanently disabled or disfigured.