A massive campaign is underway to get nearly half a million defective airbags in North Texas replaced.
At least 11 Americans, including two Texans, have been killed by faulty Takata airbags. That number doesn't include the nearly 200 others seriously injured by the airbag explosions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls the Takata airbag inflator recall the largest and most complex recall in U.S. automotive history. So the goal is to get 100 percent of the defective airbag inflators in the shop to be switched out as soon as possible.
Courtnie Giddens suffered life-changing, physical injuries caused by a Takata airbag in her Honda Accord during a car accident in May 2014.
“Next thing I remember, I was soaking wet,” she said in an earlier interview with FOX 4. “I didn't know why until I looked down and there was blood everywhere.”
It's stories like Gidden’s experience and the fact that nearly 500,000 North Texans are still driving around with defective airbag inflators that have prompted the NHTSA to enlist the help of the community.
“We're not getting enough compliance of people checking, making sure they can get those cars scheduled and those recalls completed,” explained NHTSA Deputy Regional Administrator Brian Jones.
Jones says North Texans are especially at risk for an explosion due to the area's extreme heat and humidity, which can cause the faulty airbags to deteriorate and make them more likely to explode. Older model vehicles, including some Honda and Acura models, made between 2001 and 2003 face even greater risk.
Pastor Donald Parish Sr. is one of several community leaders partnering with NHTSA to spread the word of the recall.
“This is a way we can help spread the word, especially to the people in this community,” he said. “Messages like this are important. People need to hear it more than once and need to hear it in more than one way.”
Parish plans to talk to his congregation of nearly 500 people at Sunday service and hand out flyers at bible study.
The pastor said there are plenty of people in his community that drive older cars and may not be aware of the recall.
“Those parts are available now,” Jones said. “They need to check the VIN on the website, get those cars scheduled and get them in now.”