HOUSTON, March 1, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Houston civic and community leaders, FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and Mazda North American Operations announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind, collaborative outreach program designed to help Houston drivers affected by the deadly airbag recall.
According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in November 2017, Texas ranks No. 2 in unrepaired vehicles impacted by the airbag recall, with more than 2.1 million vehicles with defective airbags still in need of repair across the state. California ranks No. 1.
Building upon ongoing efforts to address this life-threatening issue, canvassers on behalf of FCA US, Ford and Mazda will be going door-to-door in Greater Houston to find affected drivers and help them schedule free repairs. The automakers will be offering drivers a variety of accommodations to ensure repairs are conducted in a timely and convenient manner. These include the option of having the defective airbag replaced right outside the driver's home or in the parking lot where they work by a mobile repair technician, offering free loaner vehicles while repairs are made, and free towing services to and from nearby dealerships.
On Feb. 12, 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued the following statement about certain 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks with defective Takata airbags: "These vehicles have defective Takata air bags that are an immediate risk to safety. Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair. Ford and Mazda have replacement air bags available now and will tow vehicles to a local dealership for repair, and provide loaner vehicles - all free of charge."
While the Takata airbag recall impacts 19 automakers, certain 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras, 2006 Ford Ranger trucks and Mazda B-Series trucks pose the most urgent threat. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, defective airbag inflators in 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras pose up to a 50 percent or higher chance of exploding upon deployment.
At least 15 Americans—including two individuals from the Houston area—have been killed by defective airbag inflators, and more than 220 Americans have suffered injuries, including cuts or lacerations to the face or neck, broken or fractured facial bones, loss of eyesight, and broken teeth.
The risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in Greater Houston due to high temperatures and humidity that exacerbate the defect in the airbag inflator.
The repair is absolutely free. Parts for higher-risk vehicles are in good supply at area dealerships, and free towing is available.
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.
Houston 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.
"Hundreds of thousands of Greater Houston residents are still driving recalled vehicles with defective airbag inflators that could explode like a grenade, spraying sharp, metal shrapnel at their face, neck and chest. As Chair of Houston's Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, I applaud these automakers for ramping up efforts to help these drivers get their vehicles fixed and to prevent additional tragedies from occurring on our roadways. I urge all Houstonians, regardless of what you drive, to check you 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." – Brenda Stardig, Houston City Councilmember, District A; Chair, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee
"Spread the word and save a life. If a vehicle contains a defective airbag, even a minor fender bender can be fatal. It's too easy to fix and too dangerous to ignore. Check your VIN today at www.AirbagRecall.com." – John D. Buretta, Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program
ABOUT AIRBAG RECALL
Airbag Recall is an effort supported by 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 individuals about the risks associated with defective airbag inflators, helping affected drivers schedule free repairs and accelerating recall completion rates. To determine if your car has a defective airbag inflator, visit www.AirbagRecall.com and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN).
 "The Independent Monitor of Takata and the Coordinated Remedy Program – The State of the Takata Airbag Recalls." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nov. 15, 2017. https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/the_state_of_the_takata_airbag_recalls-report_of_the_independent_monitor_112217_v3_tag.pdf
 NHTSA Issues Consumer Safety Advisory: Ford and Mazda Expand 'Do Not Drive Warning'." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Feb. 12, 2018. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-issues-consumer-safety-advisory-ford-and-mazda-expand-do-not-drive-warning
 "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/PressReleases/nhtsa_takata_high_risk_inflators_06302016
SOURCE Airbag Recall