Drivers concerned over Takata airbag recall after recent death

By Jonathan Martinez - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - The recent death of a driver due to a defective Takata airbag has many people concerned about their own airbags. And some Houston-area residents are having trouble getting the problem fixed.

"Driving is dangerous enough worrying about what's on the outside of the vehicle, not having to worry about what's on the inside of the vehicle," Chris Smith said.

He said he bought his 2013 Ford Mustang about a year and a half ago, but only recently found out the vehicle is part of the defective Takata airbag recall.

"They were able to verify at the local dealership and big customer service office that our VINs matched on the recall," Smith said.

Now he's working to get the potentially deadly defect in his car replaced. However, he said his dealership isn't sure when that'll happen.

"They said that they've been waiting on parts since August of last year and don't have any idea when they're going to have anything," he said.

Smith said it was last week's accident involving the Takata airbags in Fort Bend County that left 17-year-old driver Huma Hanif dead that prompted him to check his own vehicle.

"The last thing that any of us want to see is another story where this teenager was killed in a minor accident," Smith said.

Smith said he'll continue reaching out to Ford and his dealership with no plans to give up until he gets the issue fixed.

"We have a vehicle my teenage son is driving and now we have the fear that a minor fender bender could turn into something a lot more catastrophic than what it should be," Smith said.

Hanif is the 10th known death in the U.S. from a Takata inflator and the 11th worldwide. More than 100 people have been hurt as a result of the malfunction. The air bags are the subject of the largest automotive recall in history. Check if your car made the recall list online at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Honda issued its own statement reading Hanif's car was part of this and other recalls adding:

"Multiple mailed recall notices were sent over the course of several years to registered owners of this vehicle, including the current registered owner. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed."

[WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO OF HANIF'S DEPLOYED AIRBAG]

[WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO OF HANIF'S DEPLOYED AIRBAG]

Takata inflators can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. So far 14 automakers have recalled 24 million U.S. vehicles in what is now the largest auto recall in the country's history. About 7.1 million inflators have been replaced.

American Honda released a statement that read, in part: "American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible.  Vehicle owners can check their vehicles' recall status online at for Honda and Acura."

Hanif is the second person in the Houston area to be killed by faulty Takata airbags.

In January 2015, 35-year-old Carlos Solis died in low-speed crash near Spring High School. He was driving a 2002 Honda Accord.

His family is suing Honda, Takata and the dealership that sold the car.

Safercar.Gov issued a list of the Takata airbag recalls.  The list includes:

  • BMW
  • FCA (Chrysler)
  • Daimler Trucks North America
  • Daimler Vans USA LLC
  • Ford
  • General Motors (GM)
  • Honda
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Ram
  • Subaru
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen (VW)


Click here for more information.

Copyright 2016 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.