June 16, 2017—Hundreds of thousands of Riverside County residents are driving recalled vehicles with dangerously defective airbag inflators that could blast shrapnel into the passenger compartment upon deployment. In response, family and friends of local victims, along with dozens of civic and community leaders, have joined together to urge people to check whether their vehicle is affected, and to get a free, life-saving repair.
The new effort is an extension of Airbag Recall: Southern California, a coalition launched this past March in Los Angeles. The aim is to educate communities across Southern California about the life-threatening danger posed by unrepaired, recalled airbags.
At least 11 Americans—including three Californians—have been killed by defective airbag inflators. Approximately 180 Americans have suffered serious injuries, including cuts or lacerations to the face or neck, broken or fractured facial bones, loss of eyesight and broken teeth. Thousands of these higher-risk vehicles are still on the road across Southern California, but have yet to be repaired.
While the recall affects vehicles manufactured by 19 different automakers, drivers of some older vehicles face an even greater risk. These models include 2001 and 2002 Honda Civics and Accords, the 2002 and 2003 Acura TL, the 2002 Honda Odyssey and CR-V, the 2003 Acura CL and the 2003 Honda Pilot.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, "with as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately."
The risk for serious injury or death is particularly acute in Riverside County due to high temperatures and humidity that exacerbate the defect in the airbag inflator.
In addition, as part of ongoing efforts to address this recall, on Dec. 9, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a new repair prioritization plan designed to accelerate the availability of replacement parts for vehicles impacted by the recall.