DALLAS, Dec. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of North Texas residents are driving recalled vehicles with dangerously defective airbag inflators that could blast shrapnel into the passenger compartment upon impact. In response, dozens of civic and community leaders convened today at Dallas City Hall to launch an urgent, region-wide effort to get over a half million unrepaired defective airbag inflators off North Texas roads.
While the recall affects vehicles from more than a dozen 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 U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, "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."
At least 11 Americans – including two Texans – have been killed by defective airbag inflators, and 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. The two Texans that died were driving older, higher-risk vehicles. In both cases, 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, but have yet to be been repaired.
The risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in North Texas due to high temperatures and humidity that exacerbate the defect in the airbag inflator. A community mobilization effort called "Airbag Recall: North Texas" is educating the public about the magnitude of the recall and helping affected drivers schedule life-saving, free repairs with local dealerships, immediately. Automakers are notifying at-risk drivers and North Texas dealerships are replacing defective airbag inflators for free.
In addition, as part of ongoing efforts to address this recall, on Dec. 9, 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 whether their vehicle has a defective airbag inflator at www.AirbagRecall.com or www.SaferCar.gov. If impacted by the recall, they can contact any of their automaker's nearby dealerships to schedule a free repair. North Texas 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 receive recall-related updates going forward.
"The ongoing airbag recall demands immediate attention from residents across North Texas. On behalf of the Dallas County Commissioners Court, I urge all drivers to check their vehicle at www.AirbagRecall.com or www.SaferCar.gov. This small step will help keep you, your family and other members of our community safe." –Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge
"The safety and security of our community is the top priority for the Dallas City Council. In my capacity as Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Dallas, I am committed to ensuring all members of the community, including diverse, low-income and under-served populations, are informed about the gravity and magnitude of the airbag recall and how to get their airbags replaced for free." –Mónica Alonzo, Dallas City Council District 6 Councilwoman and City of Dallas Mayor Pro Tem
"This recall threatens all members of our community – families, seniors, college students, kids and others. That's why collaboration among diverse organizations, leaders and other concerned members of the community is critical to addressing this urgent public safety issue. Our organization is committed to supporting outreach efforts throughout North Texas, and to educating drivers about the simple steps they can take to prevent a deadly accident caused by a defective airbag inflator." –Dr. Alexander Eastman, Medical Director and Chief, the Rees-Jones Trauma Center at Parkland, and Chair of the Dallas Safe Communities Advisory Council
"In North Texas, many of us drive or ride in a car several times a day, every day. If your vehicle contains a defective airbag, this part of your daily life could threaten your life. The good news is that getting your airbag inflator replaced is quick, easy and free of charge. All vehicle owners should visit www.AirbagRecall.com or www.SaferCar.gov for information about any open safety recall on their vehicle and what they can do to have a defective airbag inflator replaced free of charge." –Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff
"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is doing everything possible to make sure that there are no more preventable injuries or deaths because of these dangerous air bag inflators. All vehicle owners should regularly check their vehicles for recalls and go get them fixed at no cost as soon as replacement parts are available." –Dr. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator
"Our call to action for drivers across North Texas is simple: check before you wreck. Even a minor fender bender can be fatal. It's imperative – and easy – to look up your VIN now." –John D. Buretta, Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program
About Airbag Recall: North Texas
Airbag Recall: North Texas is the unified effort of community organizations, public interest groups, private companies, elected officials, faith communities and other concerned parties to raise consumer awareness about the ongoing airbag inflator recall. Participants are committed to educating the residents of North Texas 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 or www.SaferCar.gov and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN).
 "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
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SOURCE Airbag Recall: North Texas