Dodge Owners Told to Stop Driving Cars Over Takata Airbags
Defective Takata airbags are continuing to kill people nearly a decade after the threat posed by the safety devices became well known.
Just look at the news from major auto manufacturer Stellantis. The company is warning owners of older Dodge Charger, Challenger and Magnum cars not to drive their vehicles until Takata airbags are replaced. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that polices car safety, has joined in on the warning.
“Left unrepaired, recalled Takata airbags are increasingly dangerous as the risk of an explosion rises as vehicles age,” Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s acting administrator, said in a statement posted on the agency’s website. “Every day that passes when you don’t get a recalled airbag replaced, puts you and your family at greater risk of injury or death.”
At least two people died this year in separate crashes where the Takata driver's-side airbag in 2010 Dodge Chargers exploded, according to Car and Driver. A third death is believed to be linked to a faulty airbag.
“An exploding Takata airbag can send metal fragments toward the driver or passengers, and this shrapnel can kill – and has – killed or maimed people,” Carlson added.
The warning covers about 275,000 vehicles, including 2005 to 2010 Dodge Challengers, Chargers, and Magnums as well as Chrysler 300 cars. All of those vehicles were first called back in 2015 and have since been eligible for free airbag replacements, but Stellantis said many have not been brought in for a fix.
Some 100 million malfunctioning Takata airbags have been recalled around the world in the last 10 years. The recall is the largest by far on record in the U.S.
It followed initial reports of exploding safety devices causing accidents, injuries and even death. At least 25 people have been killed as a result of the defective airbags.
Takata eventually paid $1 billion to settle a Justice Department probe into claims that it failed to warn consumers of the problem. The company later filed for bankruptcy and was sold.
Defective Car? Understand Your California Lemon Law Rights
While the Takata recall is the largest in history, major car manufacturers routinely call back vehicles for a wide range of issues that pose serious safety risks. These recalls are often announced long after the cars have left factories and dealership lots and have been sold to unsuspecting buyers.
That is where the California lemon law comes in.
The law generally requires carmakers to perform a wide range of repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces manufacturers to buy back vehicles that they are unable or flat-out refuse to fix. That means compensating the owner for the vehicle’s purchase price, as well as financing charges, rental car costs and other related expenses.
Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney
If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.