Honda Makes Graphic Safety Video To Scare You Into Fixing Your Defective Takata Airbag

For when a strongly worded letter just won't do, apparently.

It's estimated that one out of every four vehicles on the road in this country is part of an ongoing recall, and if the statistics are any indication, most of them haven't been fixed yet. And more than four years after the Takata airbag inflator scandal erupted into the largest auto recall in history, just one-third of the 46.2 million cars and trucks affected in this country have been repaired. To scare you out of driving around with a possible fragmentation grenade hidden behind your airbag, Honda has put out this jarring, gory safety video showing a driver's wounds up close.

To recap, the Takata scandal stretches at least a decade. The Japanese auto parts company had made airbag assemblies and other safety systems for major manufacturers for years, but in 2008 Honda issued the first recall for Takata airbag inflators after tests showed they could explode during a crash, sending high-speed metal fragments through the airbag and into the passenger cabin. Almost a decade later, that first batch of 4,000 cars has expanded into the largest recall in history, affecting tens of millions of cars from nearly every major manufacturer around the world. 

The defective inflators have been linked to 18 deaths worldwide—12 in the United States—and almost 200 injuries. And since all but one of the deaths in this country occurred in a Honda, the automaker is especially concerned about making sure its owners are aware of the problem. That can be the only reason why Honda—they of family vans and wholesome commercials—released this frightening PSA showing a two-inch piece of shrapnel sticking out of a driver's eye socket. Needless to say, it's not for the faint of heart

The unfortunate victim in the video is Stephanie Erdman, who uses her experience to plead with other drivers to check and see if their airbags need to be fixed. The company's information campaign is also accompanied by a new initiative to track down owners on Facebook. Honestly, leveraging technology seems like a much better approach to recall compliance than throwing up another gory video on the internet, especially dropping it on YouTube for anyone to see. The press release notes that it hopes the ad finds its way to TV stations around the country; somehow, we don't see that happening.

It's now known that defective airbag inflators may have been installed in Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Scion, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen models. Earlier this year, Takata pleaded guilty to a felony charge in U.S. federal court and agreed to a $1 billion settlement. The company, which first opened in 1933, declared bankruptcy in June and sold the majority of its assets to a Chinese competitor in November.