More than 70,000 Hawaii residents are driving recalled vehicles with dangerously defective airbags that could blast sharp metal fragments at drivers and passengers upon deployment, resulting in serious injury or death, even in a minor crash.
According to the U. S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the ongoing, urgent Takata airbag safety recall — the largest and most complex recall in U.S. history — affects tens of millions of vehicles from 19 vehicle manufacturers, and over 200 models and model years. At least 16 Americans have been killed, and more than 300 individuals have suffered serious injuries allegedly caused by these defective airbags.
As of June 2019, of the 200,000 airbags on the road in Hawaii that were initially identified as containing these dangerously defective inflators, approximately 70,000 — or 28 percent— remain unrepaired in about 60,000 vehicles, even after as many as dozens of outreach attempts by vehicle manufacturers.
This safety recall is particularly urgent for drivers of older, affected vehicles in Hawaii — because prolonged exposure to high heat and humidity over time makes the defect even worse, increasing the potential for serious injury or death.
While the recall affects vehicles made by 19 different vehicle manufacturers, certain 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras as well as certain 2006 Ford Ranger trucks and Mazda B-Series trucks are considered higher risk. NHTSA urges consumers not to drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately. The specific ‘Do Not Drive’ models are listed below:
>> 2001-2002 Honda Civic
>> 2001-2002 Honda Accord
>> 2002-2003 Acura TL
>> 2002 Honda CR-V
>> 2002 Honda Odyssey
>> 2003 Acura CL
>> 2003 Honda Pilot
>> Certain 2006 Ford Ranger
>> Certain 2006 Mazda B-Series
In Hawaii, hundreds of unrepaired airbags fall into the higher risk, ‘Do Not Drive’ category.
Hawaii residents can find out whether their vehicle has a recalled airbag at AirbagRecall.com. If they do, they can contact any of their vehicle manufacturer’s nearby dealerships to schedule a free recall repair.
The recall repair is absolutely free. Parts for higher risk vehicles are in good supply at area dealerships and many are offering free towing or loaner vehicles to accommodate affected vehicle owners.
Hawaii residents who may be waiting for replacement parts for their vehicle, or who are not affected by the current recall, are also encouraged to call their vehicle manufacturer and confirm that their contact information is up to date, so they receive recall-related updates going forward.
“These airbags are dangerous and potentially deadly,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “If your vehicle is under recall, I can’t stress how urgent it is to immediately take it to your dealer for a free repair. It could save your life or the life of someone you love.”
Affected vehicle manufacturers are undertaking a variety of outreach efforts to help alert vehicle owners affected by the recall and schedule free, potentially life-saving repairs. Examples of these efforts in Hawaii include:
In Hawaii, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (“FCA US”), vehicle manufacturer of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles, is contacting owners of unrepaired vehicles to inform them that their vehicle has an open urgent airbag safety recall. FCA US communicates the urgency of having the vehicle repaired as soon as possible, for FREE, at any authorized dealership through direct mailings, emails, live phone calls, automated phone calls, text messages and online/social media advertisements.
In an effort to locate Acura and Honda vehicles with the highest-risk inflators, American Honda Motor Company is sending teams of Honda representatives to physically knock on owners’ doors in Hawaii to encourage customers to respond to the recall and assist them with scheduling the free recall repairs. Replacement parts are available for all recalled Acura and Honda models, and free loaner cars are available to vehicle owners for the day of the repair.
Toyota Motor North America continues to contact vehicle owners by mail, email, and phone. Other initiatives include: repair-a-thon events and local partnerships in an effort to further awareness.
General Motors is working to ensure that the 600 unrepaired owners residing in Hawaii are made aware that their vehicle has an open urgent airbag safety recall. GM continues to communicate to these owners through a variety of channels: direct mailings, emails, live phone calls, automated phone calls, text messages and online/social media advertisements. GM vehicles affected include: 2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado HD; 2007-2008 GMC Sierra HD; 2003-2010 Pontiac Vibe; 2008-2009 Saturn Astra; 2005-2006 Saab 9-2X; 2006-2011 Saab 9-3; and 2006-2009 Saab 9-5.