Takata Airbag Recall “Passes Buck” Leaves RV Owners Unaware, in Limbo
Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group founding attorney Joseph H. (“Joe”) Graves, today issued a safety alert to recreational vehicle (“RV”) owners nationwide. The safety alert addresses <strong>Mercedes-Benz</strong> and <strong>Daimler chassis RVs equipped with recalled Takata airbags.</strong> Unlike 34 million vehicles nationwide and seven million vehicles worldwide, no Mercedes recall notice has yet been issued to owners of these RVs.
Takata air bags can rupture and spray shrapnel, a safety defect linked to 11 deaths globally and dozens of injuries. Because RVs are hybrid vehicles in the truest sense, with the chassis being supplied by one manufacturer and the vehicle then finished for the consumer market by another entity, no one has taken responsibility to issue the recall<strong>. The safety alert is issued for owners of the <em>2006 – 2009 Dodge Sprinter 2500 and 3500</em>, <em>2007 – 2014 Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500,</em> and the <em>Mercedes-Benz 2007 – 2014</em> <em>Sprinter.</em></strong> Recalled Takata airbags are inherent to these vehicles’ Mercedes-Benz and Daimler chassis specification.
Joe Graves issues the safety alert after learning by accident that his Mercedes-Benz chassis RV is equipped with a recalled Takata airbag. “I didn’t receive a recall notice. I was attempting to sell my RV when my local dealer notified me that resell through the dealership, <em>where I’d originally purchased the vehicle,</em> was impossible.” The dealer explained my RV’s Mercedes-Benz chassis contained the recalled Takata airbag. “I then learned Mercedes-Benz hadn’t issued a recall because they <em>only </em>supplied the chassis, not the vehicle. Winnebago finished the vehicle.” Asked why Winnebago didn’t issue the recall Graves was told because Winnebago did not manufacture the Takata airbag-equipped chassis. “This saga began with my dealer and had now come full circle.” Graves continued, “Basically, it was three strikes and I was out—of luck.”
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called Takata recalls, “The most complex consumer-safety recall in U.S. history.” In May 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced a recall schedule so the Takata airbags likeliest to fail first would be repaired first. The NHTSA separated the country into three humidity zones, prioritizing repairs to vehicles registered in states with the highest humidity. <strong>Airbags in climates with higher humidity are more susceptible to unwanted and spontaneous deployment.</strong>
“Florida RV drivers are operating vehicles, most completely unaware, that encased in the steering wheel is a time bomb with no predictable timer. Compounding this is the fact these drivers happen to reside in what is arguably the state most susceptible to unwanted spontaneous deployment.” Attorney Joe Graves went on to call “unconscionable, the passing of the buck” between Mercedes-Benz and Daimler, Winnebago and RV dealers nationwide. “In my own case I’m initiating litigation. I’m faced with significantly diminished value of the vehicle. Thousands of drivers in my home state of Florida and many more across the country are facing this and something potentially far more harmful. I’m personally issuing them a recall notice.”