The auto industry’s biggest recall is far from being over. Even as automakers continue to recall more makes and models for the defective airbags, millions of vehicles with the defective airbags still remain on U.S. roadways. The airbags, which contain the chemical ammonium nitrite, which degrades, can explode with too much force, sending deadly shrapnel flying through vehicles. This shrapnel has led to nearly two dozen fatalities and hundreds of injuries worldwide. ABC 7 Chicago reports that there are still 167 million autos with the faulty airbags on the road.
It’s been more than three years since the federal government stepped in and took over the management of recalls involving vehicles with the deadly airbags.
Still, one-third of the vehicles that have been recalled are still on the roads, without having had their airbags repaired or replaced.
The annual report, which was released in late December, was made by the government and a court-appointed recall monitor.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recall repair rates across all manufacturers have increased 30% over the year.
Still, out of the 50 million recalled vehicles, some 16.7 million have yet to be repaired. Add to that about 10 million more recalls that are scheduled to take place in January.
Critics of the NHTSA say that they are refusing to enforce consent orders that were supposed to speed up repairs and hold both Takata, who declared bankruptcy, and automakers responsible. They point to the fact that the report was issued on the Friday before Christmas as an attempt to “bury” the report.
For their part, automakers have been using inventive methods to try and reach out to the owners of vehicles. Home visits and postcards in different languages are among the sophisticated attempts to reach owners of affected vehicles. Some manufacturers are sending repair teams out to the owner’s homes to repair the vehicles.
According to the report, 7.2 million inflators have been repaired over the past year.
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