Recalled airbags with potentially fatal defects at center of outreach campaign in CA

Dave Kunz Image
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Outreach campaign for defective airbags in CA kicks off
An outreach effort in California warning of potentially deadly defective airbags kicked off on Monday.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An effort to replace recalled airbags in California cars that have potentially deadly defects kicked off on Monday.

"Across the United States, tens of millions of vehicles remain unrepaired," said Heidi King of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The airbags in those vehicles are potentially lethal weapons. The metal actuator in the airbag can shatter, sending fragments into the driver or passenger.

One Alhambra police officer thought a man in a simple crash had been shot in the face. The coroner discovered the true case of the fatal injuries: an exploding defective airbag.

"To this day, I can still recall what I had seen that day and the notification I had to make to the family in regards to what had happened," said Sgt. Rodney Castillo of the Alhambra Police Department.

The fix is fairly simple, completely free and could literally save someone's life, but there are many unrepaired cars still on the road, particularly here in Southern California.

The problem before was there were not enough replacement airbags. That problem has since been solved.

The problem now is getting the word out.

Grassroots outreach begins right now in both English and Spanish. Special airbag recall volunteers will be going to community events to help.

A website,, has been established to make it easy to check and see if your car needs to be repaired.

Honda got on the ball early and said most of their cars have been repaired, but for the ones that remain, they're reaching out in a more analog fashion.

"We're knocking on people's doors in communities," said Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman.

Regulators want to see every last car fixed. "We can't make consumers take their cars in for repair," King said. "But their lives depend on their doing so."