Over a quarter-million Houstonians may be driving with faulty airbags

Safety officials are encouraging Houston drivers to ensure their car is not the subject of an airbag recall.

Airbags are staple safety features in virtually all vehicles on the road today, there to protect motorists from injury should they be involved in an accident. But in Houston, a city that's teeming with motorists, it's these very airbags that could send motorists to area hospitals, a new awareness campaign warned.

Over a quarter-million drivers – 275,000 – in Texas' largest city may have defective airbags installed in their automobiles, according to a public service announcement from Airbag Recall, an organization that's working in tandem with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to inform the public about the Takata airbag recall.

The Takata Corporation, an automotive parts company headquartered in Japan, is one of the largest airbag suppliers in the world. But ever since 2008, when the Honda Motor Co. issued a recall on defective propellant wafers that were causing inflators to burst upon impact, the supplier has had to recall millions of airbags due to a host of defects. Earlier this year, in fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that another 35-40 million inflators had to be recalled until December 2019 after over 100 people were injured when airbags ruptured. Many of the injuries required medical treatment in emergency rooms.

68% of airbags still need fixing in Houston

While a considerable portion of these errant airbags and inflators are now off the road or in the process of being fixed, the same can't be said for drivers in Houston, as an estimated 68% of recalls have yet to be repaired.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is calling on area residents to visit www.AirbagRecall.com or www.SaferCar.gov to see if their car is among those with problematic inflators.

"As mayor, my top priority is the safety and security of Houstonians," Turner explained. "I join so many other community leaders today lending my voice and support to make sure all residents in Houston are educated and aware of the gravity and magnitude of the airbag recall and the urgency of getting their airbags replaced."

Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator, added that in order for all defective airbags to be off the roads, everyone has to be responsible and take the appropriate steps. This includes checking out both websites, then going back to the dealership where the fixes will be made for free.

Rupture risk high for several early 2000 models

Some makes and models are more likely to have the problematic airbags than others, according to a recent test performed by NHTSA. Most are manufactured by Honda – specifically the Civic, Accord, CR-V, Odyssey, and Pilot, built between 2001 and 2003 – as well as 2003 Acura TL and CL.

"With as high as a 50% chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately," NHTSA Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx warned. "Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge."

Please be sure to visit the above-mentioned websites to see if your car is on the list. It could be a move that saves your life.