Federal auto safety regulators have issued a rare alert to drivers of more than 4.7 million vehicles with defective airbags, which may fail to deploy in a crash or explode with tremendous force before any collision.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked owners of the vehicles to have them inspected as soon as possible, especially if they live in high-humidity areas such as Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and certain regions of the South Pacific.
Number of Automakers Involved
This massive alert affects vehicles made by a number of automakers including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, BMW and General Motors. A majority of the vehicles in question were manufactured between the years 2001 and 2004.
Also, automakers have recalled most of the faulty airbags manufactured by Takata. Toyota issued a new warning this week saying it would conduct a “supplemental safety recall” of 247,000 previously recalled models including Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra and Lexus SC vehicles manufactured from 2001 to 2004.
Those vehicles may have faults in their passenger-side airbags.
The vehicles mentioned by NHTSA in the warning have been the subject of earlier manufacturer recalls. However, officials say, many owners have not brought them in for service, which is an ongoing problem in a year that has seen more than 50 million vehicle recalls.
The previous record was 30 million vehicles in 2004. Officials say the problem is that many of the recalled vehicles are 10 to 14 years old, which means they are no longer under warranty. Many of the vehicles are not even owned by their original owners.
Lethal Safety Issues
The airbags, manufactured by Takata, have presented a continuing safety issue. The airbags have been implicated in at least one death in Florida and several injuries.
The exploding airbags send out shrapnel into the passenger compartment, which has caused serious injuries. Safety advocates say these airbags pose a lethal hazard to drivers.
The defect appears to be caused by faulty parts in the airbags fabricated at their factories in Moses Lake, Washington and Monclova, Mexico. In addition to drivers, workers in Japanese salvage yards have also reportedly been injured when the airbags exploded.
If Your Vehicle Has Been Recalled
If you own one of these recalled vehicles it would be in your best interest to take the vehicle to the dealer.
Owners of potentially affected vehicles are encouraged to visit NHTSA’s website and check their vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to learn if their car has one of these defective and dangerous airbags.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these airbag defects, please contact Bisnar Chase to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
Injured victims of defective autos or auto parts are entitled to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
The best auto defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.