Ten years after recalls began, thousands of you in the U.S.—or around 62,307 to be exact—are still driving cars with the worst of the Takata airbags, the ones that could explode and kill you or your passenger in what otherwise might be a simple fender bender. This is insane!
Who’s to blame? Car owners and carmakers, surely, in addition to Takata, of course, which doesn’t even exist anymore really such was the catastrophe that was its ammonium-nitrate powered airbags.
But it’s not all on them, as The Washington Post, reports, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been without a Congressionally confirmed director for over a year, hobbling an agency that under a different administration might be more proactive about holding automakers’ feet to the fire.
From the Post:
“Our last hearing on the ongoing Takata fiasco is just further evidence that NHTSA is just rudderless,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), ranking Democrat on the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. “The latest data the committee has received from the automakers shows that individual automaker recall completion rates are all over the place — and millions are still waiting for replacement air bags.”
[President Donald Trump] recently proposed elevating acting director Heidi King to lead the agency. King, whose nomination will require Senate confirmation, told the Commerce Committee last month that car companies have “made progress” on the Takata recall.
“But the progress is uneven,” she said. “Overall completion rates are not where we want them to be.”
That last quote isn’t the most convincing, and it’s befuddling in part because people keep dying, the latest coming in January , increasing the death toll to 22.
According to NHTSA, the most dangerous airbags were installed in the following Honda, Ford, Acura, and Mazda models:
But even if your car’s not on that list (if it is, you should take it into the dealer NOW if you haven’t done so already), there are wider recalls affecting tens of millions of other cars which are ongoing, and will continue through December 2019.
So do yourself a favor and go here and see if your car is under recall. Reminder: Recalls are free.