Products Liability Law Daily NHTSA urges Florida vehicle owners to repair defective airbags immediately
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Friday, June 8, 2018

NHTSA urges Florida vehicle owners to repair defective airbags immediately

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

Voicing concern over the high number of vehicles in South Florida with unrepaired defective Takata airbags, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an urgent plea for Floridians to check their vehicle identification (VIN) numbers and determine if their vehicles are under recall. Nearly 459,000 vehicles in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties have unrepaired airbags, despite the fact that vehicles in South Florida have been prioritized to get repair parts first due to the high risk associated with the hot, humid climate (NHTSA News Release, June 7, 2018).

The Takata airbag recall is the largest and most complex vehicle recall in U.S. history, involving 19 vehicle manufacturers, 37 million U.S. vehicles, and approximately 50 million airbags. At least 23 deaths and more than 300 injuries worldwide are linked to Takata airbags that have exploded, spraying metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. Three Floridians were among those killed.

Along with automakers and South Florida community leaders, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King encouraged vehicle owners to act immediately, warning, "I cannot stress strongly enough the urgency of this recall—these airbags can be deadly. If your vehicle is under recall, do not delay in getting it to your dealer for a free repair. It could save your life or the life of someone you love."

NHTSA has also expressed concern regarding the pace of repairs for certain higher-risk model year 2006 Ford Rangers and Mazda B-Series trucks with defective Takata airbags. The agency has placed these vehicles under a "do not drive" warning and has issued two public pleas to owners to seek the free repair for their own safety and the protection of their loved ones [see Products Liability Law Daily’s February 12, 2018 analysisand May 7, 2018 analysis].

To stay informed of current and future recalls, NHTSA advises consumers to visit NHTSA.gov and search for recalled vehicles by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Owners also may sign up at NHTSA.gov/Alerts to be notified by e-mail of future recalls.

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