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Get Your Damn Recalls Done!

Illustration for article titled Get Your Damn Recalls Done!
Photo: Getty Images (Getty Images)

A 17th person has died in the U.S. because of a faulty Takata airbag, according to Reuters. The biggest recall in automotive history has claimed yet another victim.

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The victim was in a crash on August 20 in Mesa, Arizona. They were in a 2002 Honda Civic.

Here’s the pertinent bit of Reuters’ report:

Honda said the 2002 Civic had been under recall since December 2011 for replacement of the driver’s frontal airbag inflator, while the passenger’s frontal airbag inflator was recalled in 2014.

Honda sent more than 15 mailed recall notices over eight years to registered owners of the vehicle before the crash and made other attempts to contact owners. The driver killed was not the registered owner and Honda said it was not certain if the driver was aware of the unrepaired recalls.

The most recent previous fatal confirmed U.S. incident was the June 2018 death of a driver after the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic in Buckeye, Arizona.

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What’s particularly shitty here is that the killed driver was not the registered owner. They may have had no idea that they were driving in a car with a dangerous and recalled airbag still installed.

Here is a short video showing a Takata airbag explosion:

There have been 63 million recalls in the U.S. concerning Takata airbags, including airbags in the Honda Fit owned by yours truly, which were replaced a while ago amid one of many waves of recalls.

You can check to see if your car has any open recalls at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. And you should! This story is a good reminder that recalls aren’t just about you, the owner, but about anyone who might end up driving your car. Fundamentally, recalls are evidence that manufacturers fucked up in their corporate responsibility to build a safe car, but that doesn’t excuse anyone from the own responsibility of getting their recalls done.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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DISCUSSION

What about the responsibility of the OEM or the dealer in having recall parts available? I own a Pacifica Hybrid which had a fire recall this year - the hybrid battery electronics architecture was responsible for ~12 fires in the northern US and Canada. We were told earlier this year to stop driving it, park it outside, and get it inspected at a dealer as an interim solution. If there was corrosion, they kept your vehicle and gave you a shitty loaner for TBD until parts were available. Dealer experiences were across the board - didn’t know how to inspect it, didn’t know what parts to fix, didn’t know when the parts were coming in, didn’t/wouldn’t give loaners.

Before you lay all the blame on owners, maybe look at the entire picture and realize how frustrating it is for an automaker to say, hey, your car may explode into a fireball with your family inside, but we don’t have a solution yet so just stop driving your $50k vehicle and bring it in so we can maybe give you a base level replacement for TBD.  Keep making payments on it in the meantime.