Honda’s Defective Takata Air Bags: An Explosive Problem
Defective Air Bag News
Honda is initiating a large-scale ad campaign with the hope of getting vehicle owners who have faulty airbags to seek out repairs at local dealerships. The Takata Corporation is responsible for producing the defective airbags. The problem centers on an inflator that has the potential to explode, causing metal pieces to fly into the passenger cabin. Three deaths and over 50 injuries have been reported in the United States as a result of the Takata air bag inflator rupture. In the United States, it is estimated that over six million Honda and Acura vehicles are subject to the Takata air bag recall. The recalls have involved more than 20 million vehicles globally.
A unique attribute of the defective air bag centers on its amplified propensity to failure in hot, humid areas of the world. Honda focused their efforts on vehicle owners in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to bring in their cars for repair, as reported by the L.A. Times. The company broadened its efforts to include California, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama.
Car and Driver reports the Honda models that are affected — as a caveat, this list may be subject to change. The 2001–2007 Accord (four-cylinder); 2001–2002 Accord (V6); 2001–2005 Civic; 2002–2006 CR-V; 2002–2004 Odyssey; 2003–2011 Element; 2003–2007 Pilot; 2006 Ridgeline are all reported to have the airbag defect.
Failure to Comply With Laws That Safeguard the Public
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration required Honda to pay two $35 million civil penalties, totaling $70 million for failing to report injuries, deaths, and warranty claims to the federal government. This violated the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act which is designed to increase consumer safety through mandates empowered by the NHTSA.
The first civil penalty is a result of Honda’s failure to reveal over 1,500 death and injury claims to the NHTSA between 2003 and 2014. The second civil penalty resulted from the manufacturer’s nonperformance of reporting warranty claims during the same time period. In 2014 alone, the NHTSA imposed more than $126 million in civil penalties, surpassing the total amount collected in its 40-year history.
Lawsuits Against Takata
A class-action lawsuit filed by Janet McFarland against the Takata Corporation alleges that the company tried to cover up the problems with its airbags. The allegations include a claim that “corporate management told Takata to ‘destroy the evidence’ when the engineers found out the airbags were causing injuries and deaths.”
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Takata in recent months, leading the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to decide to consolidate some of the cases in Miami federal court. The Panel stated that the “actions… share factual questions arising from allegations that certain Takata-manufactured airbags are defective in that they can violently explode and eject metal debris resulting in injury or even death.” The plaintiffs go on the allege that the airbag manufacturer along with various motor vehicle manufacturers had knowledge of the defect, yet concealed it from the public and regulators. Centralization of the lawsuits helps maintain consistency throughout the pretrial litigation process while conserving the scarce resources of the judiciary.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a faulty airbag, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at Boone & Davis immediately to evaluate your case and determine how much compensation you may be entitled to. We are prepared to help you seek justice for your injuries.