The Dallas Examiner
Automobiles outfitted with airbags manufactured by the Takata Corporation are part of the largest nationwide safety recall in U.S. history after 11 people died and 180 were injured due to the airbag inflators’ propensity to blast out metallic particles when airbags expand during a crash, according to information provided by the awareness group Airbag Recall: North Texas.
Community leaders met at Dallas City Hall Dec. 12 to reiterate the dangers of the more than half a million defective inflators still not replaced in North Texas and how the dangers may be of special concern to the local African American community.
“We literally have hundreds of thousands of vehicles in North Texas that contain these defective airbags that are driving on the road today,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Upon a minor impact, a minor fender-bender, shrapnel can get people in the eyes and blind them, can cause disfiguring injuries. We’ve even had two deaths here in Texas.”
Donald Parish Sr., pastor at the True Lee Missionary Baptist Church, acknowledged the defect is cause for concern for all, but especially so for local African Americans.
“In our community, an overwhelming number of people of color owning older model vehicles is a reality, and then they rely primarily on older model vehicles – bought either new or used – to get around, or to use such in business on our streets and highways. Unfortunately, it is very easy for a car that’s subject to recall to be overlooked and drivers, be they Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, are at risk of death,” he said.
“Each and every community in our diverse city deserves protection, and our congregation is committed to work with the North Texas recall to ensure that protection is delivered to every local community, and any other pockets of North Texas that are disproportionately impacted by the recall,” he continued.
Approximately 70 million defective inflators in the U.S. are or will be under recall by 2019. Airbag Recall: North Texas indicated that the vehicles most at risk of having the defect are the 2001 and 2002 Honda Civics and Accords, the 2002 and 2003 Acura TL, the 2002 Honda Odyssey and CR-V, the 2003 Acura CL and the 2003 Honda Pilot.
“We urge drivers not to drive these cars unless they’re taking them straight to the dealership to have the looked at immediately,” said Brian Jones, deputy regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He announced that since these were the vehicles with the highest risk of faulty airbags, their repairs were the highest priority with the replacement parts already in stock at most dealerships.
Vehicles from more than a dozen automakers are affected, however. During the call-to-action downtown, the speakers repeatedly discussed the three steps to find out if a vehicle is on the recall list.
First, the Vehicle Identification Number should be located on the automobile, usually located on the driver-side dashboard by the windshield, or printed on the vehicle’s insurance card.
The second step requires a visit to http://www.airbagrecall.com or http://www.safercar.gov, where VIN numbers can be entered.
Should a vehicle be under a recall notice, the words “Recall Incomplete” will appear on website(s) once the VIN has been entered. An appointment should be made at the automaker’s local dealership as soon as possible to have the airbag inflator replaced for free. A loaner car may be provided by the dealership while a vehicle is being repaired.
If the words “Remedy Not Available” appears on the website, a call to a dealer should be made anyway so that the owner can be notified as soon as the proper parts for the repair are available, per a statement from airbagrecall.com.
“The procedures usually take only take usually 30 to 60 minutes to complete,” said Dr. Alexander Eastman, medical director and chief of the Rees-Jones Trauma Center at Parkland Hospital, about the repair time. “I will tell you one last thing. The only thing that’s more awful than a death from a motor vehicle collision is a death that could have been prevented.”