An alert warning was issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for owners of vehicles fitted with airbags made by Takata Corporation. In the statement, to ensure the safety of millions of US drivers, vehicles from automakers such as Honda Motor and Toyota Motor need to be inspected immediately.
According to Toyota, US drivers should have passengers sit in the back seat until defective Takata Corp airbag parts are replaced, advice that came four months after drivers in Japan were warned.
Reportedly, four people were killed while driving vehicles made by Honda. In one Florida case, the driver had such a horrific gash to the neck it was initially being investigated as a homicide. These accidents are currently under investigation to determine if exploding shrapnel linked to flawed parts are to blame.
Because there are so many recalled airbags, officials worry that automakers do not know how to address defects quick enough or comprehensively following the bungled ignition switch recall by General Motors and Toyota. That incident occurred in 2009 and 2010, consisting of unintentional acceleration.
In a separate probe, authorities are trying to determine if Honda is responsible for underreported injuries and fatalities in the US in connection with the ignition switch problem.
According to Ashvin Chotai, managing director of researcher Intelligence Automotive Asia, this latest airbag recall certainly undermines both confidence and credibility in driving, specifically in cars. He added that unfortunately, there is not much that consumers can do about it other than take more precautions and feel less confident while sitting in a car.
During the last two years, a minimum of 4.7 million vehicles in the United States were linked to Takata airbags, which includes automakers General Motors, BMW, Nissan Motor Co., and Mazda Motor Corp. As far as warnings, at this time Nissan, Mazda, and Honda have not followed suit in telling drivers to place front-seat passengers in the back until defective airbag parts are replaced.
It was not until after data was shared by Takata showing the improperly performing inflators were sent back to the supplier as part of the company’s customer recalls that Toyota extended the approach to the US. This week alone, the largest automaker in the world called back 247,000 vehicles, to include 2001 to 2004 models of Tundra, Corolla, Sequoia, and Matrix.
John Hanson, US spokesman for Takata said the majority of the vehicles were subject to recalls by Toyota in June 2014 or May 2013. The company is prepared to do whatever an owner wants, to include coming to get the vehicle if the individual is too afraid to drive.
The NHTSA stresses that owners need to act immediately in regards to the defective Takata airbags, saying this should be of greatest urgency in locations with high levels of humidity like Hawaii, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.