Millions of cars with faulty airbags still on roads despite deaths

Millions of cars with faulty airbags still on roads despite deaths

Millions of vehicles with defective airbags are still on the road despite years of recalls and at least 37 deaths allegedly linked to the safety devices, according to a new investigation. 

Takata airbags — which can degrade in heat and humidity then explode when activated, killing passengers with shrapnel — are still installed in 14 million US vehicles and millions more around the world, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. 

That’s despite a years-long effort to recall and replace the airbags, which were installed in 42 million vehicles worldwide.

Carmakers involved in the recall include Honda, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz.

Wednesday’s report highlighted the story of Janett Perez, an American citizen who lived in the Mexican city of Merida. 

Perez was driving her used Honda CR-V last December when another car backed into hers, reportedly causing the Honda’s defective airbag to shoot a piece of metal into her neck and kill her. 

Perez’s husband, Ruy Drisaldi, told Bloomberg that the couple had not received a single warning that the car was under recall. 

“I now realize all the years we had that car, we were driving with a gun pointed to our heads,” he said. “Someone needs to be held responsible.” 

Takata factory
Carmakers included in Takata-related recalls include Honda, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz.

Honda did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Takata, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017 amid airbag-related litigation, could not be reached for comment.

In the US, accidents involving the deadly Takata airbags have killed 19 people, most recently this April when a South Carolina driver was killed by a Takata airbag in a 2002 Honda Accord. 

In a statement after the accident, Honda said the vehicle had been under recall since 2011 and said the company had made more than 100 attempts to reach the vehicle’s owner, including through phone calls and in-person visits. 

While Honda says its efforts to enforce the recall in the US have been substantial, Bloomberg reported that the company has done less outreach in Mexico. 

Airbag interior
The malfunctioning airbags can kill drivers with shrapnel.

Honda has fixed 72 percent of its recalled cars in Mexico, compared to 89 percent in the US, according to Bloomberg. General Motors has reportedly fixed just 36 percent of vehicles with Takata bags in Mexico.  

Other countries where people have been reportedly killed by the defective airbags include Australia, Brazil and China. Worldwide, a total of 37 people have allegedly been killed and 450 have been injured. 

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