One of the biggest and most complex vehicle recalls in U.S. history that involved 19 manufacturers, 37 million U.S. vehicles, and approximately 50 million Takata airbags remains a concern of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in Florida.
According to the agency, South Florida has the highest risk area of the nation, because three Florida residents were among the 23 lost lives attributed to the defective air bags.
In a June 7 announcement, the agency urged Florida drivers, including commercial fleets to check their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) to determine whether or not their vehicles are under recall for Takata airbags.
In addition to the fatalities, over 300 injuries across the globe are linked to the defective equipment, which exploded and unleashed metal shrapnel to the interior of several cars and trucks.
In multiple cases the fatal airbag explosion was triggered not by a high-impact collision, but rather by a minor fender-bender.
Due to the high-risk factor, vehicles in the south Florida region have been prioritized to receive repair parts first, yet the agency remains apprehensive about motorists and fleets taking the necessary action steps.
“I am deeply concerned over the high number of unrepaired defective air bags in vehicles here in South Florida,” said Heidi King, NHTSA's deputy administrator. “I cannot stress strongly enough the urgency of this recall — these air bags can be deadly. If your vehicle is under recall, do not delay in getting it to your dealer for a free repair. It could save your life or the life of someone you love.”