800K Defective Airbags Still on Fla. Roads; Owners Urged To Take Advantage Of Recall

Nov 18, 2020

Despite years of recalls, there are still some 800,000 vehicles with defective airbags in Florida.

"A very, very serious problem still exists in the state of Florida," said Patrick Juneau, who is leading the national outreach program by SafeAirbags.com.

Nationwide, more than 11 million defective Takata airbags are still on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This week, owners of vehicles who still haven’t gotten their airbags replaced are expected to receive a letter from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, NHTSA and SafeAirbags.com notifying them that recalled Takata airbags could kill or seriously injure drivers and passengers if they deploy.

"Despite the Herculean effort by publications, news media - whatever communications you can think of - those vehicles still have not been brought in for repair. That's like a loaded grenade," Juneau told WJCT News Wednesday afternoon.

Drivers who have the airbags are strongly encouraged to schedule appointments at their local dealerships to have them replaced for free as soon as possible.

The recall affects a wide variety of vehicles made by BMW, Daimler Vans, Daimler Trucks, FCA, Ferrari, Fisker, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Takata's air bag inflators are blamed for rupturing and spewing dangerous debris into a vehicle's cabin.

Drivers can quickly look up whether a car is among those with the recalled airbags at SafeAirbags.com.

In 2018, Florida had the highest number of injuries and fatalities as a result of defective Takata airbags, according to automakers.

Since the recall began in 2014, the government has struggled to get people to replace their airbags. It’s the largest automotive recall in history, according to NPR.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.