MIAMI, Jan. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of South Florida 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 have joined together to launch an urgent, region-wide effort to get more than a half million unrepaired defective airbag inflators off the roads in Dade and Broward counties.
While the recall affects vehicles from 19 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 outgoing 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."1
At least 11 Americans – including one Floridian – 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 individual from Florida that died was driving an older, higher-risk vehicle. In this and nearly all other cases in the U.S., 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 in South Florida, but have yet to be been repaired.
The risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in South Florida due to high temperatures and humidity that exacerbate the defect in the airbag inflator. A new community mobilization effort called "Airbag Recall: Miami-Dade" is educating the public about the magnitude of the recall and helping affected drivers schedule life-saving, free repairs with local dealerships, where replacement parts are available for higher-risk vehicles. Similar community efforts are already underway in Texas, and are expected to expand into Broward County early this year.
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 whether their vehicle has a defective airbag inflator at www.AirbagRecall.com. If impacted by the recall, they can contact any of their automaker's nearby dealerships to schedule a free repair. South Florida 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.
"As a life-long civil servant, I am deeply invested in the safety and security of our community. My office is committed to working with leaders from across South Florida to raise awareness about the gravity and magnitude of the airbag recall, and to ensuring all members of the community, including diverse, low-income and under-served populations understand how to get their defective airbags replaced for free." –State Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, District 35
"Due to the lack of public transportation infrastructure in our communities, many hardworking Floridians must depend on their cars to survive. The ongoing airbag recall demands immediate attention from residents across South Florida. We view safe, reliable transportation as a critical resource for all individuals. We urge all drivers to check their vehicle at www.AirbagRecall.com. This small step will help keep you, your family and other members of our community safe." –Monica Russo, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Workers East
"In South Florida, 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. 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 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." –State Senate President Pro-Tempore Anitere Flores, District 39
"This recall threatens all members of our community – families, seniors, college students, children 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 South Florida, and to educating all local citizens about the simple steps they can take to prevent a deadly accident caused by a defective airbag inflator." –Manny Hartman, President of the South Florida Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Achievement (LCLAA)
"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 South Florida 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 at www.AirbagRecall.com." –John D. Buretta, Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program
ABOUT AIRBAG RECALL: MIAMI-DADE
Airbag Recall: Miami-Dade 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 of Dade County 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
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SOURCE Airbag Recall: Miami-Dade