Our Perspective: Working Together to Save Lives

The following “Our Perspective” piece from Stephanie Erdman, who was injured when a Takata airbag inflator ruptured, and HNA Executive Vice President Rick Schostek, outlines Honda’s latest campaign to save lives and prevent injuries.

Our first meeting, three years ago, was an uncomfortable moment, coming just minutes before we both testified to a U.S. Senate committee investigating deaths and injuries from rupturing Takata airbag inflators.

Back on November 20, 2014, the perception in the public and the media was that we were on opposite sides of the Takata airbag inflator issue. After all, one of us was seriously injured by a Takata airbag inflator in a car accident, and the other works for the company that manufactured the car. But we talked about how we could work together to help prevent injuries to others.

Collaboration soon followed, and with a very personal public service announcement we are taking the latest step in our joint efforts to save lives and prevent injuries. This new public service campaign urges owners to quickly complete the necessary, and free, repairs of an affected vehicle.

The reality is that over 40 million vehicles made by some 10 different automakers have been recalled to replace front Takata airbag inflators on the driver’s side, passenger’s side, or both. However, despite a multi-year notification effort by automakers to reach owners, millions of these cars and trucks have yet to be repaired. The consequences could be tragic.

The PSA shares a personal and traumatic moment that resulted in a severe eye injury, emotional distress and months of recovery. We sincerely hope this straightforward and personal message will prevent more people from experiencing this kind of pain and suffering, or loss of life, because they fail to recognize, or they ignore, the importance of this repair.

We hope television stations across the country will utilize our new PSA to alert their viewers of this recall and publicize the quick and easy step to check their vehicles.

This PSA is not the first time we have worked together to increase recall repair rates of Takata airbag inflators. Two years ago, in the pages of Automotive News, we jointly advocated for a government requirement that all outstanding safety recall repairs be completed before a vehicle can be legally registered in a state, similar to existing emission checks.

We continue to believe that a registration requirement would dramatically reduce the risk of death and injury that result from unrepaired safety recalls, especially in older model vehicles. And earlier this year, we collaborated on a unique mailing to Honda and Acura customers that contained many of the important messages and images in the new PSA.

Warning: This video content may be unsuitable for some viewers.

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