By David Sutta


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When you are in an accident you expect your airbag to protect you.  But more and more South Floridians are finding their airbags doing more damage than good.  You may have heard about a massive airbag recall.  It appears the problem is not going away any time soon.  If anything it’s getting worse.  CBS4’s David Sutta  investigated what is going on and what you need to know to avoid getting hurt or even killed by your airbag.

Leslie McCloud was in a daze.

“Blood was just dripping down my sweatshirt.  I couldn’t really hear.  All I heard was a click, click, click,” he recalls.

The front of his car was dented in.

“I hit something – a pothole or something in the road – and it caused me to swerve and lose control of the wheel.”

A light posted stopped the car. Remarkably he walked away. He considers himself lucky.

“Very lucky,” he said.

Inside a Hialeah auto body shop McCloud’s car has sat for months. It’s evidence in his lawsuit against the manufacturer of the car.  His attorney Jason Turchin pointed it out across the warehouse.

“This is the vehicle after the accident,” said Turchin while pointing out the car. From the outside it looks like it had just a minor fender bender.

“It wasn’t a catastrophic accident by any means,”  he explained.  When he opened the door to the car, it looked like a bomb went off.  The instruments were in pieces. The airbag was not where it should be.  It’s sitting in pieces in the driver’s seat.

Turchin looked at the damage and explained, “Leslie could have died. The only difference between Leslie getting hurt and dying was chance.”

When an airbag activates during an accident it is supposed to keep you from hitting the steering wheel.  When Leslie’s car hit the pole, he claims the airbag inflated and came right out at him in pieces. The force created havoc on his head.

“Basically I have a fractured jaw. My ear drum was punctured and blood was rushing through my ears,” Leslie said.

Turchin explained, “Instead this entire airbag, this entire component shot out and exploded out from the airbag.  And you can see there are lots of pieces all over the floor from behind here.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually has slow motion video of the malfunction.  Instead of an airbag coming out, you see the airbag parts flying everywhere.

“These can come out at a couple hundred miles an hour. It can break someone’s jaw. It could kill them. It can whip their neck back. I mean pieces of metal have shot out at people and stabbed them in the face, in the back.” Turchin said.

Turchin has more photos than you care to see of clients maimed by their airbags. The car companies have been alerting car owners of the risk. Leslie’s notice though was a little too late. A week after the crash, he got something in the mail.

“We got a notice that there was a recall,” he chuckled at the irony of it.

Leslie’s car, a 2004 Honda Accord, is part of a 70 million-car recall that includes 20 major car brands on the road.  The cars contain airbags made by Japanese company Takata.  For two years now, Takata has been trying to fix the problem. However, with so many cars, it’s going to take a while by Turchin’s estimate.

“It’s going to take six years or more to fix all these affected vehicles. That’s impossible,” he said.

Turchin said he took a closer look at the data and found that people driving cars like Leslie’s may be at greatest risk. Since 2009 – 11 deaths have been linked to faulty airbags. Out of those 11 deaths, 8 people were driving 2001-2004 Honda Civics and Accords.

Coincidence? Turchin thinks not.

“Get these vehicles off the road immediately. Every day that these vehicles are on the road, if there is a crash within a vehicle that hasn’t had their airbag replaced, those people could die or get injured just because of their airbag. Nothing to do with their accident,” he said.  As of right now, the recall is prioritizing not by make and model but where your car is parked. If you live in higher humidity states, like Florida, you are at greater risk of failures and get priority. Still replacement airbags are hard to come by.

What do you do if you have this car? Turchin grimaced because there is not much to be done right now.

“I would recommend you get your car inspected. If there are not enough parts to fix your car or to fix your airbag, go to a mechanic and get your airbag inspected at the very least,” said Turchin.

For most people not driving, their recalled car is not an option.

Leslie is now driven everywhere by his daughter and son-in-law. He’s afraid to get behind the wheel. He hopes sharing his story will save lives.

“I’m just grateful to be alive. I hope that this makes a difference and it helps someone else before something else happens to their family,” he said.

Turchin has actually come up with a fix he says will prevent future airbag recalls. It’s a simple system that allows consumers to check their airbag for any defects or corrosion. He’s filed a patent on the idea and is pitching it to car companies. To see if you are driving a car that’s airbag has been recalled, click here or view below.

 

Scroll down here to see if your  vehicle is affected.

The list of affected vehicles by priority group for repairs can be found here (PDF).

NOTE: This list does not yet include vehicles in the May 4 announced Takata recall expansion. It will be updated to reflect the expanded recall when this information is available. Please sign up for NHTSA’s Recall Alerts to be notified when you can search for all vehicles affected by this recall using the Recalls Lookup Tool.

Acura

  • 2003 Acura 3.2CL
  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL
  • 2013-2016 Acura ILX
  • 2013-2014 Acura ILX Hybrid
  • 2003-2006 Acura MDX
  • 2007-2016 Acura RDX
  • 2005-2012 Acura RL
  • 2009-2014 Acura TL
  • 2010-2013 Acura ZDX

Audi

  • 2005-2013 Audi A3
  • 2006-2009 Audi A4 Cabrio
  • 2010-2011 Audi A5 Cabrio
  • 2009-2012 Audi Q5

BMW

  • 2008-2013 128i
  • 2008-2013 135i
  • 2008-2013 1 Series M
  • 2000 323i
  • 2002-2006 325Ci
  • 2002-2003 325iT
  • 2001-2011 325i
  • 2001-2011 325xi
  • 2002-2003 325xiT
  • 2006-2012 325xiT
  • 2000 328i
  • 2006-2013 328i
  • 2006-2013 328xi
  • 2006-2013 328i xDrive
  • 2001-2011 330i
  • 2001-2011 330xi
  • 2002-2006 330Ci
  • 2006-2013 335i
  • 2006-2013 335xi
  • 2006-2013 335i xDrive
  • 2009-2011 335d
  • 2007-2013 335is
  • 2002-2003 525i
  • 2002-2003 530i
  • 2002-2003 540i
  • 2001-2013 M3
  • 2002-2003 M5
  • 2013-2015 X1 sDrive28i
  • 2013-2015 X1 xDrive28i
  • 2013-2015 X1 xDrive35i
  • 2007-2010 X3 xDrive30i
  • 2003 X5 3.0i
  • 2003 X5 4.4i
  • 2007-2013 X5 xDrive30i
  • 2007-2013 X5 xDrive35i
  • 2007-2013 X5 xDrive48i
  • 2007-2013 X5 xDrive50
  • 2007-2013 X5 M
  • 2009-2013 X5 xDrive35d
  • 2008-2014 X6 xDrive35i
  • 2008-2014 X6 xDrive50i
  • 2008-2014 X6 M

Chevrolet

  • 2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • 2007-2008 Chevrolet Silverado 3500

Chrysler

  • 2007-2008 Chrysler Aspen
  • 2005-2010 Chrysler 300
  • 2005-2010 Chrysler 300C
  • 2007-2008 Chrysler Crossfire
  • 2005-2010 Chrysler SRT8

Daimler Trucks North America (Sterling Bullet)

  • 2008-2009 Sterling Bullet 4500
  • 2008-2009 Sterling Bullet 5500

Daimler Vans USA LLC (Sprinter)

  • 2007-2009 Dodge Sprinter 2500
  • 2007-2009 Dodge Sprinter 3500
  • 2007-2014 Freightliner Sprinter 2500
  • 2007-2014 Freightliner Sprinter 3500
  • 2010-2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500
  • 2010-2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500

Dodge/Ram

  • 2008-2010 Dodge Challenger
  • 2006-2010 Dodge Charger
  • 2005-2011 Dodge Dakota
  • 2004-2008 Dodge Durango
  • 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum
  • 2003-2009 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2003-2009 Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2003-2009 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2008-2010 Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008-2010 Dodge Ram 5500

Ford

  • 2004-2006 Ranger
  • 2005-2006 GT
  • 2005-2014 Mustang

GMC

  • 2007-2008 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2007-2008 GMC Sierra 3500

Honda

  • 2001-2007 Accord
  • 2001-2005 Civic
  • 2003-2005 Civic Hybrid
  • 2001-2004 Civic CNG
  • 2002-2011 CR-V
  • 2011-2015 CR-Z
  • 2003-2011 Element
  • 2010-2014 FCX Clarity
  • 2009-2013 Fit
  • 2013-2014 Fit EV
  • 2010-2014 Insight
  • 2002-2004 Odyssey
  • 2003-2008 Pilot
  • 2006-2014 Ridgeline

Infiniti

  • 2003-2005 Infiniti FX35
  • 2003-2005 Infiniti FX45
  • 2001 Infiniti I30
  • 2002-2004 Infiniti I35
  • 2006 Infiniti M35
  • 2006 Infiniti M45
  • 2002-2003 Infiniti QX4

Mazda

  • 2004-2006 B-Series Truck
  • 2003-2008 Mazda6
  • 2006-2007 Mazda Mazdaspeed6
  • 2004-2005 MPV
  • 2004-2008 RX-8

Mercedes-Benz

  • 2005 C230 Kompressor
  • 2006-2007 C230
  • 2008-2011 C300
  • 2008-2011 C300 4Matic
  • 2005 C320
  • 2006-2011 C350
  • 2009-2011 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
  • 2010-2011 E350
  • 2010-2011 E350 4Matic
  • 2011 E350 Cabriolet
  • 2010-2011 E550
  • 2010-2011 E550 4Matic
  • 2011 E550 Cabriolet
  • 2010-2011 E63 AMG
  • 2009-2010 GL320 BlueTec 4Matic
  • 2011-2012 GL350 BlueTec 4Matic
  • 2009-2012 GL450 4Matic
  • 2009-2012 GL550 4Matic
  • 2010-2012 GLK350
  • 2010-2012 GLK350 4Matic
  • 2009-2010 ML320 BlueTec 4Matic
  • 2009-2011 ML350
  • 2009-2011 ML350 4Matic
  • 2010-2011 ML450 4Matic Hybrid
  • 2009-2011 ML550 4Matic
  • 2009-2011 ML63 AMG
  • 2007-2008 SLK280
  • 2007-2008 SLK350
  • 2007-2008 SLK55 AMG
  • 2011-2014 SLS AMG
  • 2012 SLS AMG Cabriolet
  • 2013-2014 SLS AMG GT
  • 2009-2010 R320 CDI 4Matic
  • 2009-2010 R320 CDI 4Matic
  • 2009-2012 R350 4Matic
  • 2011-2012 R350 BlueTec 4Matic

Mitsubishi

  • 2004-2006 Lancer
  • 2004-2006 Lancer Evolution
  • 2004 Lancer Sportback
  • 2006-2009 Mitsubishi Raider

Nissan

  • 2001-2003 Nissan Maxima
  • 2002-2006 Nissan Sentra
  • 2002-2004 Nissan Pathfinder

Pontiac

  • 2003-2008 Pontiac Vibe

Saab

  • 2005 Saab 9-2x
  • 2006-2011 Saab 9-3
  • 2006-2009 Saab 9-5

Saturn

  • 2008-2009 Saturn Astra

Subaru

  • 2003-2005 Baja
  • 2004-2005 Impreza
  • 2003-2008 Legacy
  • 2003-2008 Outback

Toyota

  • 2003-2008 Corolla
  • 2003-2008 Corolla Matrix
  • 2004-2005 Rav4
  • 2002-2007 Sequoia
  • 2003-2006 Tundra
  • 2002-2010 Lexus SC

Volkswagen (VW)

  • 2009-2014 CC
  • 2012-2014 Eos
  • 2010-2014 Golf
  • 2010-2014 Jetta Sportwagen
  • 2006-2010 Passat
  • 2012-2014 Passat

 

 

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