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Jul 20

Takata Air Bag Recall: more consumers are unaware and at risk

By Brian S. Kabateck

The Takata air bag recall is now considered the largest and most expensive auto safety recall in our country’s history, affecting one out of every eight vehicles on the road. Yet many consumers are unaware they are driving cars with defective Takata air bags, which can rupture when deployed and send deadly shrapnel towards occupants.

The faulty airbags have been linked to ten fatalities and more than 100 injuries in the U.S.
A recent survey by Kelley Blue Book found more than half of the 1,000 people interviewed had not been informed about the massive recall that impacts about 63 million vehicles and 33 different brands in the U.S. At least three automakers, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Mitsubishi are still selling new vehicles equipped with these dangerous products prolonging the complex recall process.

Some used-car dealers, like CarMax, are not mandated by federal law to disclose or repair any of their used-cars that are under recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has attempted to change that by lobbying Congress to enact legislation that would prevent used-car dealers from selling cars under recall until they have been adequately repaired. Consumer advocate groups are also urging the Federal Trade Commission to utilize their broad reach to fix the problem. The primary issue with holding a used-car dealer accountable for selling recalled vehicles is notice. If a used-car dealer is not a franchisee of a manufacturer and their used-car lots have unregistered vehicles, they do not receive any recall notices issued by the auto manufacturer. NHTSA only requires auto manufacturers to provide recall notices to registered vehicle owners, their dealers, and distributors.

So far only 8.8 million recalled air bags have been repaired. While federal regulators have identified the vehicles at highest risk, NHTSA is warning consumers about the dangers of driving these cars until they are repaired. While this is not a complete list of vehicles affected by the recall, the following vehicles get priority for repairs.

2001- 2002 Honda Civics and Accords
2002 Honda CR-Vs and Odysseys
2003 Honda Pilots
2002-2003 Acura TL and 2003 Acura CL

Consumers need to be proactive and check to see if their car is on the recall list. Getting replacements won’t happen quickly since there’s a wait list for many vehicles which are not considered priority. You can confirm if your car is equipped with a recalled air bag by going to the Safe Car Database http://www.safercar.gov.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a Takata air bag please contact KBK for a free case evaluation at 213-217-5000 or fill out the free case evaluation form below.