Driving one of these 124,000 Mississippi vehicles could kill you

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Fourteen years, 24 deaths and more than 400 injuries later, the United States is still dealing with the largest vehicle safety recall in its history. Defective Takata airbags are putting Americans at risk every day; there are currently more than 7.1 million vehicles on the road with at least one unrepaired, recalled airbag. Here in Mississippi, more than 124,000 vehicles  – across all makes and models – have unrepaired, recalled airbags. When exposed over time to heat and humidity, these recalled airbags can transform from life-saving devices to life-threatening ones. In a crash, defective airbags can rupture sending metal shrapnel through the vehicle that can cause serious injury, disfiguration, or death.

To help keep drivers safe heading into the summer travel season, Check To Protect – in partnership with local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers and other Check To Protect Coalition members – have designated June as Airbag Recall Repair Month in Mississippi. This statewide campaign aims to encourage Mississippi drivers of all vehicles to make safety a priority by taking immediate action to prevent serious injury and death. It’s critical that every Mississippi driver check their vehicle, as the longer a defective recalled airbag remains in a vehicle, the greater the risk.

Last November, due to a heightened risk of an airbag rupture, owners of certain recalled Chrysler and Dodge vehicles received a notification to stop driving their vehicles until their driver-side airbag is replaced. Chrysler and Dodge dealerships may either arrange for mobile repair at a person’s home or send a complimentary tow-truck.

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Airbag recalls disproportionately impact vehicle owners in communities of color, rural communities and low-income communities, all of whom are less likely to have the information, flexibility and access to repair recalls. Many owners of older or used vehicles may not be receiving recall notifications, if their current owner and address is not on file with the state or the automaker.

That’s why Check to Protect is reminding Mississippi drivers that it is fast, free and easy to check for airbag recalls and get them repaired. Here’s what drivers need to know:

  • Check for Recalls:
    • Visit CheckToProtect.org and enter a license plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is a 17-character ID found on the driver’s side dashboard, side-door or most vehicle registration and insurance documents.
  • Schedule a FREE recall repair appointment at a local dealership.
    • If you have an airbag recall, or any other safety recalls, follow the link to find your closest authorized dealership and schedule your repair. Recall repairs are always free at authorized dealerships, regardless of whether you’re the registered owner of the affected vehicle.
    • Repairs can take as little as 30 minutes.
    • Many dealers provide complimentary transportation while vehicles are being repaired, and others have mobile repair service that bring the airbag repair service to a driver’s home.
    • Mississippians whose Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram vehicle has an unrepaired airbag recall are eligible for a $50 prepaid Mastercard if they get their airbag repaired by July 15.

Throughout the state, Check To Protect, dealers and automakers are getting the word out to vehicle owners through mailers, advertising, vehicle and door-to-door canvassing and other outreach. These messages are notifying drivers of open airbag recalls (or encouraging them to check at www.CheckToProtect.org) and urging them to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting these dangerous airbags replaced immediately.

Airbag Recall Repair Month is hosted by FCA US LLC (maker of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram) as part of the Check To Protect program. Check To Protect was founded in 2017 by the National Safety Council and FCA US LLC. Today, program partners include vehicle safety advocates as well as BMW, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Volvo. Check To Protect welcomes any automaker or consumer and vehicle safety organization to join the effort to raise awareness for vehicle safety recalls.