Honda Reviewing Reports of Injury, Death Due to Recalled Airbags
As concerns continue to mount over the handling of recent Honda airbag recalls, the automaker announced this week that it has hired a third party company to audit the reports involving airbag problems that may have resulted in injuries or deaths.
The third-party investigation was prompted by concerns over “potential inaccuracies” in quarterly Early Warning Reports, after the consumer watchdog group The Center for Auto Safety indicated that Honda failed to report at least two incidents involving injury or death to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Center for Auto Safety also called on the U.S. Justice Department to initiate a criminal investigation into the matter, maintaining the automaker unnecessarily placed consumers in danger.
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Honda reports that the investigation began in September, and that they will release the details of the findings to the NHTSA.
Along with the audit into whether the automaker underreported fatalities and injury claims, the third party will also investigate potential airbag failures that remain at the heart of the issue.
Honda maintains that it has reported all deaths and injuries to the NHTSA that it was able to confirm as related to problems with airbag inflators. However, it also indicated that verbal claims were excluded in reports to the NHTSA.
Many of the injuries stemmed from defective airbags supplied by Takata Corp. More than 6 million Honda vehicles were recalled for problems with airbags in nine recalls since 2008. The actions were taken after it was discovered that the recalled airbags may cause sharpnel to be projected into the passenger cabin when the airbags deploy.
One particular incident involved a man who was killed after crashing his vehicle into a wall and hitting several other vehicles. When his airbag blew during the crash a piece of metal deployed and killed the driver. The Center for Auto Safety said Honda’s failure to share information about this incident hampered the governments oversight and efforts to find defects and prevent further injuries.
Takata Air Bag Recalls
Problems with Hondas airbags have been reported since 2008, resulting in recalls affecting millions of vehicles of all models.
Honda issued a recall in 2011 after concerns of air bag deployment problems in the Accord, Civic and SUV models surfaced, indicating that plastic and metal may be projected toward the driver and passengers after deployment.
The company recalled more than 700,000 Pilot SUV’s and Odyssey minivans in 2013, after problems concerning airbag deployment problems occurred, specifically a failure to deploy during a crash.
Earlier this year reports of exploding airbags began to surface resulting in the recall of millions of Honda vehicles. Incidents included reports of shrapnel being ejected toward passengers after the airbag deployed, causing injuries and even death.
Reports of the exploding airbags continued to mount after initial reports were issued. The problem was found to be faulty airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. By June, the faulty airbags were found to have affected nearly 10 million Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler, Ford and BMW vehicles.
Another report suggested at least two people died due to exploding airbags and projectile shrapnel from Takata air bags in Honda vehicles. The deaths attributed to the defective airbags occurred long before the millions of other recalls were issued.
An investigation published by the New York times cited 139 additional injuries linked to the Takata airbags, revealing the issue was much more widespread before it resulted in recalls.
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