Aug. 6, 2018 – South Florida civic and community leaders, members of the regional Airbag Recall coalitions and seven automakers launched Airbag Recall: Operation Find & Fix, a new intensive, community-focused canvassing program aimed at remedying potentially deadly, recalled airbags in neighborhoods with high concentrations of unrepaired vehicles affected by the ongoing airbag recall.
According to the Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program, approximately 1.3 million defective airbag inflators are still in need of repair across the state of Florida.
The new, targeted program represents an extension of the Airbag Recall: Operation Find & Fix program launched in Southern California in June 2018. Building on the initial program, the South Florida effort comprises a canvassing operation of unprecedented scale, featuring more automaker participation than any previous airbag recall canvassing effort. Canvassers on behalf of seven automakers including BMW of North America, Daimler Vans USA LLC, FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company, Mazda North American Operations, Nissan North America Inc. and Volkswagen of America, Inc., will be going door-to-door to find affected drivers and help them schedule free repairs.
The automakers will be targeting drivers with registered, unrepaired vehicles and offering a variety of accommodations to ensure repairs are timely and convenient. These include the option of having the defective airbag replaced right outside the driver’s home or in the parking lot where they work by a mobile repair technician, offering free loaner vehicles while repairs are made, and free towing services to and from nearby dealerships.
At least 15 people – including three Floridians – have been killed by defective airbags, and more than 220 Americans have suffered injuries, including cuts or lacerations to the face or neck, broken or fractured facial bones, loss of eyesight and broken teeth. In many cases, the fatal airbag explosions were triggered by minor collisions that the drivers should have been able to walk away from. The risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in South Florida, as exposure to high temperatures and humidity over time exacerbates the defect in the airbag.
While the Takata airbag recalls impact 19 automakers, certain 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras, as well as 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks, pose the most urgent threat and are unsafe to drive.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, defective airbags in 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras pose up to a 50 percent or higher chance of exploding upon deployment.
In February 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued the following statement with regard to 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks: “These vehicles have defective Takata air bags that are an immediate risk to safety. Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair.”
Local residents can find out if their vehicle has a defective airbag by visiting AirbagRecall.com. If their vehicle is affected, they can use the website to locate a local dealership and schedule a free repair. They can also check their vehicle by using the Airbag Recall app, available for free on Google Play or iTunes. The easy-to-use app provides all the same information as the website, plus it allows users to scan license plates directly from their device.
Parts for higher-risk vehicles are in good supply at area dealerships. Drivers who might be waiting for replacement parts for their vehicles, or who are not affected by the current recall, are also encouraged to call their local dealer and confirm their contact information is up-to-date so they can receive recall-related updates going forward.
“Spread the word and save a life,” says John D. Buretta, Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program. “If a vehicle contains a defective airbag, even a minor collision can be fatal. It’s too easy to fix and too dangerous to ignore. Check your VIN today at www.AirbagRecall.com.”