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Car and Driver: Injured Takata Victim Urges Car Owners to Get Recalled Airbags Fixed

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Takata’s defective airbags have been installed in more than 100 million cars in the U.S., tens of millions of which have been recalled. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the owners of recalled vehicles have not returned their cars to dealers to have the recall work performed, replacing these potentially deadly airbags. NHTSA recently went so far as to tell owners of certain 2001–2003 Honda and Acura vehicles—which are considered the most at-risk—to immediately bring their cars to a dealership to have the airbags replaced. Now we have the unusual situation of a crash victim appearing in a public-service announcement urging consumers to get their cars fixed.

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Corey Burdick was involved in a low-speed collision while driving his 2001 Honda Civic, and when the car’s Takata airbag went off, shrapnel from the defective inflator casing flew into his face. A piece of metal shot into his right eye, and Burdick lost that eye.

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It is claimed that Burdick never received a recall notice for his Civic. He speaks on camera urging drivers to take their cars in to be fixed. The spot is narrated by Richard Newsome, whose law firm, Newsome Melton, represented Burdick, and produced the video. The firm also maintains the website consumerwatch.com, on which the video appears.

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Burdick’s Civic is one of the Honda models that NHTSA has identified as the most at-risk among cars that use the recalled airbags. Besides the 2001–2002 Civic, that list also includes: 2001–2002 Accord, 2002 CR-V and Odyssey, 2002–2003 Acura TL, 2003 Honda Pilot, and 2003 Acura CL.

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Note that the Takata airbag recall encompasses more than just Hondas and Acura—much more. More than two dozen nameplates are involved and Takata airbags have been installed in more than 250 million cars worldwide. NHTSA maintains a running tally of affected vehicles here. For further information about your specific vehicle, go to your manufacturer’s consumer website or use NHTSA’s VIN-lookup tool.

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NHTSA has prioritized the recall list to focus on cars most likely to have defective inflators, which degrade with time and exposure to moisture. In its web site dedicated to the Takata recall, Honda has a special subsection dealing with these highest-risk vehicles, and claims that 70 percent have been fixed. That leaves as many as 313,000 cars still driving around with the dangerous air bags.

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