Senators call on Honda to issue “Do Not Drive” warning to Honda & Acura owners w/ defective air bags

New Auto Safety Defect Warning from Lou Lombardo:
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Please see Press Release below from Senators Blumenthal and Markey.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Maria McElwain (Blumenthal)

(202) 224-6452

Giselle Barry (Markey)

(202) 224-2742

July 26, 2016

AFTER NEW DATA REVEALS TAKATA AIR BAG RUPTURE RATES AS HIGH AS 50%, BLUMENTHAL & MARKEY CALL ON HONDA TO IMMEDIATELY ISSUE ‘DO NOT DRIVE’ ORDER FOR VEHICLES WITH THESE AIR BAGS

[WASHINGTON, DC] – After new data revealed that Takata air bags in certain Honda and Acura vehicles have a 50 percent chance of rupture in a crash, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) are calling on Honda to immediately issue a “do not drive” order to owners vehicles with these dangerous air bags. In a letter to Honda today, the Senators urged Honda to take the strongest possible action to ensure that vehicles with such air bags are immediately removed from the road before more people are killed. They also called on the company to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership.

 “Honda has a responsibility to clearly communicate the danger to consumers so that they understand the grave risks at hand,” the Senators wrote. “A ‘do not drive’ instruction should be conspicuously displayed on any recall notices, as well as this new test data so owners are informed that in the event of a crash, there is a 50 percent change that the airbag will violently explode. This new test data, coupled with the fact that eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to defective Takata airbags were in this subset of vehicles, make it abundantly obvious that a ‘do not drive’ instruction is absolutely warranted.”

The Senators first expressed concerns with NHTSA’s limited recalls and testing of Takata airbags in October 2014. They have also called on Takata to recall all vehicles with ammonium nitrate-based airbags, and expressed serious concern about the pace of Takata recalls and repairs. Earlier this year, the senators sent a letter urging President Obama to recall every vehicle with airbags using ammonium nitrate as their propellant, and to use “every tool at his disposal” to accelerate the repair of all vehicles with potentially-lethal Takata airbags.

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Mr. Mikoshiba:

In light of new test data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealing that certain model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles show rupture rates as high as 50 percent in a crash, we write to urge you to immediately issue a “do not drive” order to owners of this subset of vehicles. This data warrants the strongest possible action that a manufacturer can take to ensure that vehicles with such air bags are immediately removed from the road before more people are killed.

As Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx stated following the release of this news, “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”[1] In the wake of this announcement, we expected Honda to echo the Secretary’s remarks and quickly follow-up with a “do not drive” instruction to owners of this subset of vehicles.

We are extremely disappointed that Honda does not appear to have taken this important step. Honda has a responsibility to clearly communicate the danger to consumers so that they understand the grave risks at hand. A “do not drive” instruction should be conspicuously displayed on any recall notices, as well as this new test data so owners are informed that in the event of a crash, there is a 50 percent chance that the airbag will violently explode. This new test data, coupled with the fact that eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to defective Takata airbags were in this subset of vehicles, make it abundantly obvious that a “do not drive” instruction is absolutely warranted.

Additionally, we call on you to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership. Considering NHTSA has directed consumers “to not drive these vehicles,”[2] we suggest Honda make available mobile mechanics who can travel to where an owner lives or works to conduct the necessary repair; or free towing to the closest repair facility, so that owners will not have to drive these high risk vehicles. As you know, there remains 313,000 vehicles with this very dangerous defect unrepaired, and we believe making such additional options available will be critical to achieving a 100 percent recall completion rate.

We urge you to immediately issue a “do not drive” instruction order, on at least this subset of cars with airbags exhibiting substantially higher risk to life. Please let us know by July 31, 2016, what actions you have taken to this end, as well as any other actions you have taken to ensure vehicles with these especially high risk air bags are immediately removed from the roads.

Sincerely,

###

 

[2] http://icsw.nhtsa.gov/safercar/rs/takata/CritWarnHondaAcura.htmlD

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