Ten U.S. automakers and 7.8 million vehicles are affected by a recall of Japanese-made Takata air bags. NBC News reported the air bags are linked with at least four fatalities. The defective air bags, in some 2000 to 2011 vehicle models, have the potential to explode during an accident, a problem Takata linked to U.S. regions with warm temperatures and high humidity.
Manufacturer recalls for Takata air bags began in 2013. In October 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned affected owners to have the recalled air bags replaced immediately, particularly in specified regions with high humidity. However, California and two other states where the fatal air bag accidents occurred were not among high-risk regions targeted by the NHTSA.
Critics blasted the NHTSA for emphasizing a regional recall. NBC reported some elected officials thought the U.S. government's recall warning was "irresponsible and reprehensible." There's no guarantee the recalled vehicles are resold or driven in the same humid areas targeted by transportation officials.
Auto manufacturers affected include Honda, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Nissan. Several models and model years have been recalled from each car and truck maker. More than 5 million Hondas; 627,000 BMWs; 371,000 Chryslers; an unknown number of General Motors vehicles; 58,000 Fords; 17,000 Subarus; 877,000 Toyotas; 64,000 Mazdas; almost 12,000 Mitsubishis and 694,000 Nissan vehicles are on the recall list.
Los Angeles consumers can verify whether their vehicles are affected. You can log onto manufacturers' websites or the NHTSA SaferCar.gov website for regularly-updated recall information, accessed by using a vehicle identification number. NHTSA recall alerts appear before automakers send out recall letters.
California consumers who suspect an accident injury or death was caused by a defective product are advised to contact a product liability attorney for guidance. Automakers and auto parts manufacturers can be held accountable in civil courts for crash-related losses.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Consumer Advisory: Vehicle Owners with Defective Airbags Urged to Take Immediate Action" Oct. 22, 201