NHTSA Calls Controversy ‘Largest and Most Complex Safety Recall in U.S. History’
The consumer-safety threat posed by defective airbags in millions of vehicles worldwide has escalated again.
On June 2, seven automobile manufacturers added millions more makes and models to a growing recall list that has almost every driver wondering whether his or her car is a potential death trap.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that BMW, Daimler Vans, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen must recall over four million vehicles. Of those vehicles, nearly 2 million belong to General Motors and comprise mostly sport-utility vehicles and trucks. The list includes:
- Cadillac Escalade
- Escalade EXT
- Escalade ESV
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Yukon XL made between 2007 and 2001
- Sierra between 2009 through 2011
- Silverado 2500s and 3500s
“GM will notify customers with vehicles involved in the recall with next steps, and provide updated information via a customer website, gmtakataairbag.com, and other channels,” the company said in a statement.
The issue involves a chemical used by Takata that ignites a mechanism within the airbag, causing it to deploy. That chemical, ammonium nitrate, breaks down or deteriorates over time – especially in hot, humid and muggy environments like Florida – and ignites more quickly than it was designed to do. When the larger, more-forceful explosion occurs, it sends pieces of the mechanism, which is made of metal, flying into the vehicle.
More than eleven deaths have been blamed on the defect globally in addition to 100-plus injuries.
The most-recent recall follows a May 27 recall of 12 million vehicles and a May 4 recall of as between 30 million and 40 million vehicles, bringing the total to a whopping 100 million in the United States and overseas.
“Vehicles made by 14 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called ‘the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history’,” Consumer Reports writes in an article titled “Takata Airbag Recall – Everything You Need to Know.”
Those concerned about the danger can go to the NHTSA website to find out whether their vehicle is affected.