UPDATED: 1/24/17 The Takata recall is the largest recall in U.S. history. However, drivers are ignoring the warnings and hitting the road in recalled cars.
Recall fatigue leaves dangerous cars on the road
Car problems are a top consumer complaint. However, the Takata recall is not concerning drivers like it should. This is a life and death recall. It’s not something to mess around with especially in Florida where the risk is higher.
Time, temperature, and humidity all play a role in the risk factor for cars with Takata airbags. The older the car the more likely it is the airbag inflators will rupture and possibly injure or kill you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says six to eight-year-old cars have the most problems. The high temperature and humidity in Florida makes the problem worse.
I’ve heard from a driver or two, but nothing like some other stories I’ve covered that frankly impacted far fewer people or had far less consequences. I think people have recall fatigue. They don’t take it seriously. It seems products are recalled constantly, and I think people tune it out after awhile because the possibility something could go wrong is remote.
While the incidents have been small in comparison to the number of recalled cars, in my opinion one death is too many. There have been eleven deaths and the injuries are horrific. This is one of those recalls you want to pay attention to.
People are outraged over far lesser car issues. For example, I’ve been covering melting dashboard issues in Florida where the dashboard becomes sticky and shiny reflecting the sun and creating a blind spot. While this is a hazard and unsightly to see, this is far less of a problem than a Takata airbag. Yet I get emails daily on this issue that I’ve covered extensively.
My coverage prompted automakers to take action and agree to fix the melting dashboards. More than 5 million cars are now under an extended warranty because of my stories. It’s an important story and one I’ll continue to push on as drivers are frustrated they are still waiting for repairs to their car. Toyota announced more than a year ago it would repair the dashes, and many still have not been fixed.
While I understand the frustration of those drivers who have to stare at the unsightly mess every day and deal with the hazard blinding them, I remind them that parts are a problem in far more serious car issues. Takata being one of them. While the airbags are an afterthought for most drivers, until there’s a serious accident, it needs to be something you think about.
Takata repair delays
As a consumer advocate, I’m shocked by the lack of interest in the Takata airbag recall and the lack of outrage from drivers. I’ve spoken to one driver outraged by this mess. His Mustang is sitting parked in the driveway because he is afraid to drive it. He is the only outraged Takata driver I’ve spoken to.
Honda is offering loaner cars if it doesn’t have the parts to fix a car, but other automakers are not doing that. So drivers have no option but to drive an unsafe car or park it in the driveway and deal with that inconvenience. You would think that would generate great outrage.
I know I’ll be outraged if my car can’t get repaired. My Toyota was fixed and I’m just waiting for my Honda to be added to the recall list. My guess is that it’s in this latest batch, narrowly escaping the previous recalls.
Find out if your car is recalled
Take this recall seriously. The injuries are horrific and deadly. Before you hit the road in the morning snap a photo of your car’s Vehicle Identification Number or VIN and then enter it into Safercar.gov to see if your car is on the list. In a few weeks, go back to that photo and do it again. New cars are added to the database of recalled cars constantly.
60 million cars are impacted. Make sure yours is not one of them!