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Honda Sealed Documents for Recalls Under Investigation

Dougherty & Holloway Dec. 10, 2014

A complex situation involving potentially defective Takata bags, linked to five deaths, is being investigated by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

The propellant inside the airbag assembly was mishandled during manufacture and can force bags to open explosively and rip loose from attaching hardware. That can send shrapnel into the occupants. Both passenger and driver airbags are involved.

The Takata situation “is more complicated than most recalls” because of “three different categories of recalls involving 10 auto manufacturersHonda-Senate-Hearings-Recalls-Airbags-DHAttorneys and over 10 million vehicles since 2008 — more than 8 million of which remained unrepaired as of October 2014,” David Friedman, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in prepared testimony.

The main issue is that Honda, to avoid embarrassment and prevent more lawsuits, demanded secrecy before turning over key documents or settling a case. Starting in 2004, Honda settled claims confidentially with at least five others injured by air bags, according to news accounts and an interview with a law firm.

The public, then, is unaware of the danger in getting in a Honda with the airbag issues, leading to more injury and, in some cases, deaths.

Now the NHTSA demanded on Nov. 26 that Takata declare a group of drivers’ bags defective and that they recall all of them. The deadline for that was December 2, 2014. Takata has apologized and cataloged what it’s doing to replace the bags and, according to a Dec. 9 statement from Honda, the Japanese automaker will comply with NHTSA and expand its recall to a national level. This brings the number of affected Honda/Acura vehicles to 5.4 million.

Also part of the issue is that even though the company is sending out piecemeal recalls, the public is not taking them seriously. Here are the automakers involved with links to their respective recalls:

  • Acura

  • Infiniti

  • BMW

  • Lexus

  • Chrysler

  • Mazda

  • Dodge

  • Nissan

  • Ford

  • Subaru

  • General Motors

  • Toyota

  • Honda

  • NHTSA VIN lookup tool