TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Lisa Laird leased a Volkswagen Passat in 2014, but found out less than a year later her car is part of a massive airbag safety recall.
“I was petrified to drive the it. I got in the car a couple of times and I was literally shaking and I kept thinking, oh my gosh, what if someone hits me?” said Laird.
Her fears are not unfounded. Government studies show the Takata airbag inflator in her Passat can explode and send shrapnel into a driver, causing serious injury or death.
Laird leased her car and the Volkswagen dealership refused to give her another car or let her out of the lease, despite the defective parts.
“Nothing happened with Volkswagen with my car, they wouldn’t do anything and I couldn’t continue to make the payments on it and keep up the insurance on it,” said Laird.
No longer able to use the car, she defaulted on the lease and it has ruined her credit.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson has been looking into the Takata recall from the beginning.
“The problem is, you can’t get the parts in enough time, so they are phasing this in overtime all the way to the end of 2019,” said Nelson.
Laird and other drivers are faced with a difficult situation. It is illegal to disable the airbags, so drivers can park their cars or continue to drive with a potentially deadly explosive in front of them.
Some automakers are offering loaner cars until the airbags can be replaced.
Laird says Volkswagen refused to do this.
“So, we are going to have airbags that should be replaced, not being replaced for another three years. That puts the traveling public in a jeopardized situation,” said Nelson.
We’ll have more on the Takata airbag recall tonight at 5 on WFLA News Channel 8.
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