RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As the Labor Day weekend approaches, many of you are still opting for road trips over flying. But how safe is your ride?
8News has uncovered hundreds of thousands of Virginia drivers are still riding around with recalled Takata airbags.
Driver Karina Dorado know how dangerous the faulty airbags can be. She is lucky to be alive. She was behind the wheel of her Honda accord when she got into an accident.
Her airbag deployed and instead of protecting her, it almost killed her.
“The inflator in the airbag acted as a projectile and shards of metal went through her throat,” explains Billie Marie Morrison, Dorado’s attorney.
Morrison says it was one of millions of recalled Takata airbags. In Dorado’s case, it had been a replacement part installed in her car before she owned it.
There have been all kinds of recall notices, emails and public service announcements to alert drivers to the recall that includes cars made by BMW, Daimler Vans, Daimler Trucks, FCA, Ferrari, Fisker, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Despite the warnings, more than 300,000 unrepaired recalled Takata airbags remain on Virginia roads.
“Think of it like being a grenade in your steering wheel. If this thing goes off, it is in your face,” says Patrick Juneau with SafeAirbags.com.
The organization is working with the manufacturers to help notify vehicle owners about the urgent airbag safety recall. Juneau says long-term exposure to heat and humidity can cause the defective part inside the airbag to explode potentially shooting sharp metal pieces at the driver and passengers.
The faulty airbags have been linked to 16 deaths in the U.S. and more than 250 injuries.
“Get this thing repaired because you are creating a serious danger to yourself and others if you don’t do that,” urges Juneau.
Drivers can check to see if their car is part of the recall on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. All they have to do is type in their VIN number.
Replacement parts should be available for all makes and models.
“Call the dealer, it’s free,” says Juneau.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just launched a new app to keep drivers posted on all recall notifications. You can find more information here.
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