Very recently, tens of thousands of American motorists were told to stop driving their vehicles immediately. This is a rare occurrence, in that most recall notices simply indicate that drivers should get their defective vehicles fixed as soon as possible. Yet, in the most recent recall issued by Toyota, the message was far more dire: Do not drive. Your vehicle may be defective in a way that could seriously injure or kill you.
This safety-related advisory was issued regarding the 2003 and 2004 Corolla and Corolla Matrix in addition to the 2004 and 2005 RAV4. It is worth noting, however, that these models are just a few of those that are named in a far wider recall concerning the exact same defect. As a result, motorists who own Toyotas should check to see if their vehicles are part of wider recall efforts, even if they don’t own those models named in the Do Not Drive advisory.
What is going on?
The broader recall effort concerns faulty air bag inflators. These inflators have been installed in vehicles manufactured by a host of different companies besides Toyota. The reason that Toyota is making a special effort to alert the drivers of the models mentioned above is that the age of these vehicles make them particularly likely to be affected by the defect at the heart of the broader recall.
The inflator defect makes it possible for the inflators to explode and to expel shrapnel – sharp metal fragments – into the vehicle. Drivers, and even passengers, could be seriously injured or killed as a result of this significant defect. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the longer that an air bag has been exposed to the chemical propellant and the defective inflator, the greater the risk is of an explosion.
This is just one example of why motorists should regularly check to see if their vehicles are subject to recalls. This knowledge can, in many cases, save people from serious injuries and even death.