Airbags are supposed to protect drivers and other passengers in the car, not hurt them. So, how did a recalled airbag inflator end up in a local woman’s car almost killing her?
The woman is now taking legal action against the car company.
Nearly 70 million Takata airbags were recalled in the United States after exploding in crashes and shooting shrapnel at drivers. But some of the airbags are still in vehicles on the road. They’re being used as replacement parts in cars after accidents.
Karina Dorado had a near death experience in her Honda after she was in an accident that left her in the hospital for weeks.
“She’s 18 years old, and she’s so lucky to be alive,” said Billie-Marie Morrison, attorney at Craig P. Kenney & Associates.
Dorado was behind the wheel of her Honda Accord two months ago when she got into an accident. And when her airbag deployed, “The inflator in the airbag acted as a projectile and shards of metal went through her throat,” Morrison said.
Dorado is now suing Honda and Takata. They said when Dorado’s father bought the car in March 2016 they had no idea the Honda was damaged in a previous wreck.
An insurance company sold the totaled car to a salvage company.
“They took the airbag, a recalled airbag, out of one car, a Honda, and put it into this car and resold it,” Morrison said.
Michael Brooks is acting director at the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, D.C.
“It’s up to each individual salvage yard to know which airbags are recalled,” Brooks said. “They have no way of doing that under current federal regulations.”
Dorado’s ordeal exposes a hole in the law. It prohibits salvage yards from selling recalled parts taken from wrecked cars.
But, there’s no way to know if a part, like those airbags, has been recalled!
“There should be a database of some sort that tracks each air bag by the serial number or any recalled part,” according to Brooks.
Dorado’s voice is slowly returning, and she’s ready to fight.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen to other people,” Morrison said.
Honda has a program to buy back airbags made by Takata, so far, it has purchased 60,000 to take them out of circulation.