Whether we’re headed towards a completely autonomous driving future is up for debate, but there’s no question that technology is making vehicles safer. Features like lane departure warnings, blind spot indicators, stability control, and backup cameras are becoming standard in modern vehicles, giving drivers more information, visibility, and helpful alerts than ever before. But despite those advanced bells and whistles, nothing protects drivers and passengers better than standard seat belts and airbags.
That is, of course, when they function properly. The largest product recall in history was initiated in November 2014 when it was discovered that Takata airbags, installed in millions of vehicles from dozens of major manufacturers, were at risk of exploding during crashes, putting vehicle occupants at risk of serious injuries and even death. To make matters worse, the recall was expanded in December 2019 to include a second type of airbag inflator which could also explode or underinflate, rendering the airbags much less effective during crashes.
In total, the recalls affect between 65 and 70 million vehicles, including countless popular models manufactured and sold by Ford, GM, Honda, BMW, Audi, Nissan, Toyota, and more.
How to Determine If Your Vehicle’s Airbags Are Recalled
Auto manufacturers were supposed to mail notifications to owners of all affected vehicles informing them of the issue and instructing them on what to do next. However, not everyone received this notification or knew what it was. If you’re unsure about your vehicle’s recall status, you can visit the NHTSA’s safercar.gov website or the NHTSA’s own website and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to find out if it needs replacement airbags.
The databases on those websites are primarily for vehicles included in the recall initiated in November 2014. That means that even if your vehicle is affected by the part recalled in December 2019, it may not be listed now, as affected models are still being discovered and added. However, you can stay up to date by signing up for the NHTSA’s Recall Alerts system to be informed right away if your vehicle is added to the list.
Your Vehicle Is Part of the Recall. What Now?
Whether you received a recall notification email or found out via the databases above, it’s important to schedule an airbag replacement as soon as possible. Because of the risks the defective airbags pose to vehicle occupants, vehicle manufacturers must replace them for free. You can schedule a replacement by contacting the service department at your local dealership. While only a small number of the affected airbags are prone to exploding or underinflating, it’s important to act right away to reduce your risks.
However, if you own a 2006 Ford Ranger or Mazda B-series pickup truck, the manufacturers advise you to not drive it until the airbags are replaced. These particular models are at higher risk of airbags exploding, putting drivers and passengers in greater danger.
We Want to Help You Get Compensation After a Defective Airbag Injury
Reports indicate that Takata Corporation and certain automakers may have been aware of the defects and risks posed by the airbags for many years. However, airbags continued to be equipped in new vehicles year after year, putting millions of innocent victims at risk of serious injury and even death.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, it’s our goal to hold negligent corporations accountable when their greed or carelessness puts their customers in danger. If you or someone you love was hurt by a defective Takata airbag, our Oklahoma defective product attorneys want to hear from you. We’ll do everything we can to hold the airbag or vehicle manufacturer accountable for your injuries and help you get maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.