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Program provides incentives for drivers to have dangerous Takata airbags replaced

Toyota Motor North America teams up with Carma Project

A Takata airbag depiction. (Photo: YouTube/AutoMotoTV)

DETROIT – A new program is providing incentives in an effort to get people to replace their dangerous Takata airbags.

As of May 2019, more than 15 million vehicles with unrepaired Takata airbags were still in daily use, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

At least 100,000 unrepaired vehicles are being driven daily in Detroit, Warren and Dearborn, according to the NHTSA.

Toyota Motor North America and Carma Project teamed up to create a peer-to-peer project to make the roads safer. The program offers gift cards for people who get their friends, family members and colleagues to have their airbags replaced.

The NHTSA says the recall of Takata airbags is the largest and most complex safety recall in United States history.

Vehicles built by 19 different automakers have been affected. A projected 70 million airbags are expected to be recalled by the end of 2019, officials said.

NHTSA officials said there have been more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of alleged injuries in connection with the airbags.

"We know that friends and family can play a powerful role in influencing how people make decisions about safety," said Tom Trisdale, Toyota Motor North America’s vice president of product quality and service support. "Our partnership with Carma Project is designed to motivate and incentivize people to share critical information about the recall, including how to get the remedy for free."

"We’ve built a similar solution in health care and have seen it work," said Fabio Gratton, the CEO of Carma Project. "Companies struggle to identify participants for clinical trials, because they are hard to find and oftentimes ignore industry outreach. But a friend or family member has that trust, access and influence to ensure that those people learn about these trials and ultimately receive those potentially lifesaving medications. We’re confident that this approach will work in the automotive world, especially when combined with our incentive model."