Letters to the Editor

Dangerous airbags put drivers at fatal risk

Up to a 50 percent chance of explosion when inflated.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), that’s the risk posed by defective airbag inflators in certain 2001-2003 Hondas and Acuras, under the largest safety recall in U.S. history. These vehicles are unsafe to drive for any reason, yet hundreds remain unrepaired in South Florida.

While the recall affects vehicles made by 19 different automakers, South Florida drivers of older vehicles face the greatest risk, because prolonged exposure to hot, humid weather exacerbates the defect found in these airbag inflators. Of the 11 Americans killed by defective inflators, nine were driving older model Hondas or Acuras. One of those victims was from Florida. What’s more alarming is that in the majority of cases the airbag explosions were triggered by minor fender benders.

As a member of the Florida Senate and a consumer advocate, keeping our community safe is among my top priorities. I, along with other local elected leaders and NHTSA, have joined Airbag Recall: Miami-Dade, a coalition dedicated to raising awareness about the ongoing airbag recall and to getting dangerous vehicles off of local roadways.

To find out if you are at risk, visit AirbagRecall.com, and enter your car’s 17-digit VIN (found on the driver-side dashboard by the windshield or on your insurance card). If the website says “Recall Incomplete,” call a local dealer to schedule a free repair. If it say “Remedy Not Available,” call a dealer anyway to ensure they know how to reach you when parts become available.

Tell a friend, a family member or a neighbor to check their vehicle. If that person drives a high-risk vehicle, you could save their life by speaking up.

José Javier Rodríguez, state senator, District 37, Miami