On Friday, a 58-year-old man in Sidney, Australia, died after his Honda CRV rear-ended another vehicle at an intersection. When the airbags deployed, a minor accident turned deadly—a piece of shrapnel lodged in his neck and caused him to bleed out. This man was the 18th person to die as a result of Takata's faulty airbags.
This is the biggest vehicle recall in automotive history, reports the International Business Times, but it almost feels like the car manufacturers aren’t taking people’s safety seriously. A non-profit consumer organization in Australia, Choice, reveals that many automobile companies who are on the recall list have been refitting their cars with the exact same airbags.
“Car companies such as Toyota, Mazda, BMW, Lexus, and Subaru admitted to refitting their recalled vehicles with the same airbags produced by the Japanese Takata Corp. that had proved to be unsafe for drivers and co-passengers,” writes IB Times.
Choice promptly contacted them and asked why they had chosen to do this. Toyota responded by defending the airbags, saying the only thing wrong with the recalled ones was they were very old. Toyota said in a statement, reports the BBC, that the replacement airbags will be safe for a certain period of time before they will have to be replaced again.
“This action provided safety for a number of years, however, due to exposure to the environment over time; these airbags will need to be replaced again,” Toyota said.
Tom Godfrey, a spokesperson for Choice, described the airbags as "driving around with an improvised explosive device a few centimeters from your face.”
He told The Daily Mercury, "It can fire shrapnel at you and your family.
It’s disturbing to realize that these kinds of deaths will start happening again in a few years because the car manufacturers aren’t actually fixing the problem, just delaying the inevitable.
The choice spokesperson added, “The scale and severity of this recall is terrifying. It's clear that these car companies are under a great deal of pressure … it's unfortunate that many people who contact them can't get a remedy within a reasonable period of time.”
Other major car companies such as Honda, Mitsubishi, Ferrari, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Nissan, who also had to recall airbags, have not confirmed nor denied that they’ll be refitting their cars with Takata airbags.
“Thirteen car manufacturers have had over fifty models of cars detected with faulty airbags ranging between a $15,000 Honda Jazz and a $526,000 Ferrari 458,” says IB Times.
On Friday, it was also announced that thousands of Ford vehicles are also affected. Detroit News reported that these include 2006-2012 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ sedans, the 2007-2011 Ford Ranger pickup, and 2007-2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX SUVs. Because none of their vehicles have had airbags explode, Ford is filing a petition to be excluded from the recall. Would they rather have people being driving dangerous vehicles instead of paying the money to fix the problem?
Do you drive one of these vehicles? Have you had your airbags replaced? If you want to know more about the recall, we've been covering it for you. Click here to learn more about what's wrong and more about Takata.