RIVERSIDE, Calif., June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of Riverside County residents are driving recalled vehicles with dangerously defective airbag inflators that could blast shrapnel into the passenger compartment upon deployment. In response, family and friends of local victims, along with dozens of civic and community leaders, have joined together to urge people to check whether their vehicle is affected, and to get a free, life-saving repair.
The new effort is an extension of Airbag Recall: Southern California, a coalition launched this past March in Los Angeles. The aim is to educate communities across Southern California about the life-threatening danger posed by unrepaired, recalled airbags.
At least 11 Americans – including three Californians – have been killed by defective airbag inflators. Approximately 180 Americans have suffered serious injuries, including cuts or lacerations to the face or neck, broken or fractured facial bones, loss of eyesight and broken teeth.
Former Corona resident Delia Robles was killed on Sept. 30, 2016, when the defective airbag in her 2001 Honda Civic exploded, spraying her with shrapnel. She was driving 25 miles-per-hour, on her way to get a flu shot. In this and nearly all other cases in the United States, the fatal airbag explosion was triggered by a minor collision that the driver should have been able to walk away from. Thousands of these higher-risk vehicles are still on the road across Southern California, but have yet to be repaired.
While the recall affects vehicles manufactured by 19 different automakers, drivers of some older vehicles face an even greater risk. These models include 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.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, "with as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately."1
The risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in Riverside County due to high temperatures and humidity that exacerbate the defect in the airbag inflator.
The replacement airbag is absolutely free. Parts for higher-risk vehicles are in good supply at area dealerships, and free towing is available.
In addition, as part of ongoing efforts to address this recall, on Dec. 9, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a new repair prioritization plan designed to accelerate the availability of replacement parts for vehicles impacted by the recall.
Local residents can find out if their vehicle has a defective airbag inflator 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 free Airbag Recall app, now available 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.
Riverside County residents who may be waiting for replacement parts for their vehicle, 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.
"Less than one year ago, a member of our community lost her life when the recalled airbag in her vehicle exploded like a grenade, spraying sharp, metal shrapnel at her face, neck and chest. We must work together to address the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that contain defective airbags in Riverside and prevent additional tragedies from occurring on our roadways. Check your and your family's vehicles at www.AirbagRecall.com. This small step will help keep you, your loved ones and other members of our community safe." –Mayor of Riverside Rusty Bailey
"As a lifelong resident of Riverside County, and in my capacity as a city councilmember, I am deeply invested in the safety and security of our community. I join so many other community leaders today in lending my voice and support to ensuring all members of our community, including diverse, low-income and under-served populations, are educated about the gravity and magnitude of the airbag recall and how to get their defective airbags replaced for free." –Randy Fox, Corona City Councilmember
"In Riverside County, many of us drive or ride in a car every day, several times a day. If your vehicle contains a defective airbag, this part of your daily life could threaten your life. To confront this issue head-on, the Riverside Police Department has launched an initiative to check drivers' vehicles for outstanding recalls and to educate them on how to get their airbags replaced free of charge at a local dealership. Our organization is committed to supporting outreach efforts throughout Southern California and to helping prevent another deadly accident caused by a defective airbag inflator." –Ben Shafer, Police Sergeant, Riverside Police Department
"It is critical that information about the airbag recall reaches all residents of the greater Los Angeles area, regardless of the neighborhood they live in or the language they speak. TODEC Legal Center is working hand-in-hand with the other organizations to educate drivers about the airbag recall and to assure them that their privacy will be protected throughout the airbag repair process. Regardless of your status or what type of vehicle you drive, visit www.AirbagRecall.com today. If your vehicle is impacted by the airbag recall, a dealership will fix it for free – no questions asked." –Luz Gallegos, Community Program Director, Training Occupational Development Educating Communities (TODEC) Legal Center
"Our call to action for drivers in Riverside County and beyond is simple: fix it, don't risk it. Even a minor fender bender can be fatal. It's imperative – and easy – to look up your VIN now at www.AirbagRecall.com." –John D. Buretta, Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program
ABOUT AIRBAG RECALL: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Airbag Recall: Southern California comprises community organizations, public interest groups, private companies, elected officials, faith communities and other concerned parties unified in the effort to raise consumer awareness about the ongoing airbag inflator recall. Participants are committed to educating the residents across the region about the risks associated with defective airbag inflators, helping affected drivers schedule free repairs and accelerating recall completion rates in the area. To determine if your car has a defective airbag inflator, visit www.AirbagRecall.com and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN).
1 "NHTSA: New test data on particular subset of Takata air bag inflator show substantially higher risk." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. June 30, 2016. http://www.nhtsa.gov/About-NHTSA/Press-Releases/nhtsa_takata_high_risk_inflators_06302016
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/more-than-200000-defective-airbag-inflators-remain-unrepaired-across-riverside-county-largest-auto-safety-recall-in-history-has-taken-fatal-toll-on-southern-california-300473966.html
SOURCE Airbag Recall: Southern California