Driving Around With A Recalled Takata Airbag Is Scary For Consumers

(Jackie Vance-Kuss)

(Jackie Vance-Kuss)

Earlier this week, we shared the news that federal regulators are not thrilled with the speed at which cars with potentially dangerous Takata airbags are getting the repairs that they need. What’s that like from the other point of view: specifically, from behind the wheel of a recalled car that has an airbag that may harm you instead of protecting you?

One owner of an affected Honda CR-V complained to CBS Sacramento consumer reporter Kurtis Ming about the current state of the recall, noting that he sits as far back from the airbag as he possibly can while driving. “About 18 inches from my face there is an explosive device which may or may not be there to save my life,” he said in an interview. That’s enough to make anyone nervous, yet manufacturer Takata isn’t producing replacement airbags quickly enough to meet global demand.

In a statement, Takata reiterated that it’s speeding up production of replacement airbags and plans to produce 900,000 per month by September, but that means car owners have to drive around in cars with airbag systems that have malfunctioned and killed people for perhaps the rest of this year.

That’s unacceptable to many consumer advocates, and to consumers who dislike being killed by shrapnel. In California, there’s a bill before the state legislature that would force carmakers to give consumers a loaner car after theirs becomes part of a life-threatening recall, but the bill has a flaw: according to a representative of Consumers for Auto Reliability, it doesn’t require that the loaner be a vehicle that hasn’t been recalled as well.

Call Kurtis: My Car Is Recalled, Why Can’t I Get It Fixed? [CBS Sacramento]