Takata Airbags at Risk of Exploding in California Heat
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says tens of millions of vehicles using Takata airbags are under a recall after experts found the airbags might explode when deployed due to long-term exposure to high heat and humidity. According to an ABC news report, the defective airbags are at risk of exploding and spraying shrapnel into the vehicle compartment and the risk of this happening is much higher in areas with hot and humid weather.
NHTSA says the Takata airbag explosions have caused a number of injuries and fatalities. So far, 19 automakers including Honda, Ford, Nissan and BMW have recalled these airbags. NHTSA has now broken up states into three zones based on temperature and humidity. Zone A lists areas that are hottest and most humid. They include California, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How This Could Affect you
If your vehicle is part of this recall, you should get a notice in the mail from the vehicle’s manufacturer. If you have not received a notice, but would like to find out, visit NHTSA’s website and type your vehicle’s 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number. If your vehicle is on the list, it means there is a safety problem. You should then contact your dealer right away to schedule a time for a tow truck to pick up your vehicle.
The dealership should provide you with a loaner until your vehicle is ready. If you drive certain Honda or Acura vehicles from model years 2001 to 2003, contact a Honda dealer as soon as possible to schedule a free repair. NHTSA advises vehicle owners to driver these vehicles to the dealership for the repair before driving anywhere else. Your vehicle should be repaired at no cost, if it has been recalled. If the dealership refuses to repair your vehicle for free, you can file a complaint with NHTSA.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of defective Takata airbags, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, damages and losses sustained. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatment, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. Families of deceased victims can also seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to help injured victims and their families understand their legal rights and options.