Millions of cars and trucks have been recalled in the U.S. and around the world because of defective Takata airbags, and the recall list continues to grow with more makes and models of vehicles expected to be added.
There’s a local warehouse where evidence of the dangerous parts is piling up.
“I have the scar across here. There’s a scar across my chest, on my stomach, there’s still a knot in my hand where the metal entered,” says Tiffany Vu.
Vu feels grateful to be alive. The Temple Terrace woman survived a crash that sent metal pieces piercing her body from a defective Takata airbag in her 2004 Honda Accord.
“I've never had an airbag go off. It was probably one of the scariest things that's ever happened,” says Vu.
Evidence from the faulty airbag that could've killed her and other drivers is stacking up in attorney Rich Newsome's warehouse.
“Florida, because of the heat and humidity, is ground zero for the Takata airbag problem," says Newsome. "The vehicle and the airbag showing the pieces of shrapnel having gone through the bag is the evidence.
"It's like the murder weapon in a murder case. There are still defective airbags on the road, unfortunately."
Newsome blames The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's plan to continue to recall cars through 2019, meaning you could have a defective airbag in your car right now and not be told for years.
“Even though they know 75 million vehicles are on the recall list, they're not going to tell everyone until your name comes up as having an older car. There's actually a six-year window, which is a real concern for a lot of consumers,” Newsome says.
There's also the fear that Takata could go bankrupt before the company is held accountable.
Vu is a nationally-ranked weightlifter and hopes her accident doesn't destroy her dream to go to the 2020 Olympics.
“It affected how I'm going to compete. It’s something that’s supposed to protect them, but could end up being way worse,” Vu says.
Newsome says if you get a recall notice: don't drive your car; ask for a rental, and if the dealer can't fix it right away check with local mechanics.
For a list of the cars and trucks recalled, click here.
Concerned drivers can enter their vehicle identification number to see if their vehicle falls under the recall.
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