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Thousands of Richmond-area drivers at risk from faulty Takata airbags

RICHMOND, Va. – The Department of Motor Vehicle is warning Virginians, thousands of them are driving vehicles that are under recall for defective airbags.

The recall involves Takata brand airbag inflators that have caused 11 U.S. deaths and a number of serious injuries when the inflators malfunctioned - spraying pieces of shrapnel into the victims.

Nearly 70 million of the airbags in about 42 million vehicles are or will be under recall in the United States by 2019.

“Over time, the airbag inflators in some vehicles malfunctioned in fluctuating temperatures, moisture and humidity,” DMV said in a press release. “Even a minor fender bender may cause these airbag inflators to rupture, spraying metal into the vehicle, causing injury or death to drivers and passengers.”

While the recall includes vehicles for more than a dozen automakers, certain Honda and Acura models pose the greatest, immediate risk:

  • 2001-02 Honda Accord
  • 2001-02 Honda Civic
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • 2002-03 Acura TL/CL
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2002 Honda CR-V

The DMV says these vehicles have up to a 50-percent chance of rupture.

About 1,400 of these vehicles are registered in the Richmond-area, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb warned that, if the airbag has been recalled, “The only place they should be driving this vehicle is to get it repaired.”

However, there are multiple reports of waiting lists for repairs at dealerships - leaving people with no other choice, but to drive their car.

All vehicle owners are strongly encouraged to go to Safercar.gov and enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check for any recalls. If a vehicle is recalled, that vehicle’s dealership will repair it at no cost to the owner.