Safe Cars Save Lives
The Takata Nightmare and How to Find Out If Your Vehicle Has Had Defect Recalls
When we buy a new vehicle, we think more about the cost, color, and make than we do if the car has any defect. We tend to only consider defects when it’s a used vehicle. Whether new or previously owned, it’s important to know if your car is safe on the road - but how do you go about doing that?
Manufacturers Slip Up
Car manufacturers can slip up, allowing serious design flaws to fall through the cracks on the production line, causing devastating damage to the vehicle and peril on the roads, sometimes death.
The most recent and largest vehicle recall was on the faulty Takata air bags that caused the death of 18 year-old Ashley Parham of Oklahoma in 2009. Parham had just graduated from high school and was on her way to pick up her younger brother from football practice when her vehicle bumped into another car in the school parking lot. Normally, this would result in no personal injury, but the bump caused her steering wheel to faultily inflate and the air bag to explode. As it did so, it shot out metal pieces with such force towards Parham, that one hit the teen’s neck, slicing her carotid artery. She bled to death in her seat. This sparked a massive 5.5 million vehicle recall, the world’s largest in history. To date, 23 fatalities and 230 injuries have been linked to the Takata air bags. Tens of millions of Takata air bags have been recalled on over a dozen automakers, including BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
Don’t think that this story ends here. Up until at least 2016, car manufacturers were still selling vehicles with the faulty Takata air bags. The recall keeps growing. While some manufacturers like Ford recently settled, others like GM have been trying to get exempted from performing the recalls. Stay up to date with this recall that doesn't seem to be ending in the very near future.
What is an auto recall?
An auto recall is issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Most decisions to conduct a recall and remedy a safety defect are made voluntarily by manufacturers prior to any involvement by NHTSA. When this happens, the automaker alerts owners to the problem and usually offers a free repair.
What can you do?
It’s important to stay informed. Know if there is a safety problem with your vehicles, tires or car seat, and how to get it fixed.
The NHTSA website is also the go-to place to learn about the various auto recalls, research being conducted, data findings, traffic safety reports, laws and regulations, and much more.
If you learn that your vehicle, tires, car seats or other equipment has a safety problem, report it to the NHTSA. They review every problem as they work to keep our roads safe. You will also get information about how to correct the issue.
Thinking of buying a new or previously owned vehicle? Again, check the VIN number - before you purchase. Learn all you can about the vehicle before you own it.