HOUSTON, July 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As many as 275,000 Houstonians are driving vehicles with dangerously defective airbag inflators that could blast shrapnel into the passenger compartment upon impact. While the risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in Houston due to high temperatures and humidity that exacerbate the defect, 68 percent of recalled airbag inflators in Greater Houston remain unrepaired.
Dozens of civic and community leaders convened today at Houston City Hall to support an urgent, city-wide call-to-action for affected drivers to schedule life-saving, free repairs with local dealerships, immediately.
At least 10 people in the U.S. have been killed by defective airbag inflators, including two victims from Greater Houston. An estimated 100 people in the U.S. have suffered serious injuries, such as vision loss or broken bones.
Drivers of some older cars face even greater risk. On June 30, 2016, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that defective airbag inflators in certain older vehicles have a 50 percent chance of exploding upon deployment and strongly recommended that owners immediately bring these vehicles directly to a dealership for free repair.
Automakers are notifying at-risk drivers and Houston-area dealerships are replacing defective airbag inflators for free. In addition, a community mobilization effort called "Airbag Recall: Houston" is educating the public about the magnitude of the recall and empowering area residents to take action. Uber will provide free rides traveling to and from dealerships to fix a recalled airbag inflator.
Greater Houston 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. Houstonians 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 mayor, my top priority is the safety and security of Houstonians. I join so many other community leaders today lending my voice and support to make sure all residents in Houston are educated and aware of the gravity and magnitude of the airbag recall and the urgency of getting their airbags replaced." –Sylvester Turner, Houston Mayor
"Everyone plays a role in making sure that this recall is completed quickly and safely, including manufacturers, suppliers and vehicle owners themselves. People who receive notification that there is a remedy available for their vehicle should act immediately to have their inflator fixed. All vehicle owners should regularly check SaferCar.gov for information about any open safety recall on their vehicle and what they can do to have it fixed free of charge." –Mark R. Rosekind, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
"This recall extends to every corner of our community, from our own families to our neighbors and coworkers. As business leaders, we must take steps to keep our employees safe. We can ensure that our employees understand the urgency of this recall and the importance of replacing defective airbags." –Bob Harvey, President & CEO, Greater Houston Partnership
"We understand that most people rely on their car every day and a lack of alternative transportation is a major barrier to getting it repaired. By providing a free ride at the tap of a button, Uber's goal is to make this process as easy and stress-free as possible." –Sarfraz Maredia, Uber Houston General Manager
"It is crucial that information about the airbag recall and how to repair defective airbags gets to the many diverse, low-income and under-served people in the greater Houston metropolitan area. VN Teamwork is working hand-in-hand with the other coalition organizations to ensure that Houstonians in need are protected from and informed about the airbag recall." –Mike Nguyen, Executive Director, VN Teamwork
"Our message to everyone in Houston: 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: Houston Airbag Recall: Houston 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 seek to help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration carry out its goal of repairing 100 percent of vehicles impacted by the recall. 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).