Honda Confirms July Crash Was Caused By Defective Airbag
On December 19, 2017 following a joint inspection, American Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that a Takata driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2004 Honda Civic on July 10, 2017 in Baton Rouge, La., resulting in the death of the driver. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver during this difficult time,” Honda stated.
The company said in its statements that while the vehicle involved in this crash was under recall and had never received the required recall repair, the ruptured Takata inflator found in the vehicle during the inspection was not the original inflator installed in this vehicle. “The airbag module containing the ruptured inflator was originally installed in a 2002 Honda Civic and is believed to be a salvaged or used part that was installed in this 2004 Civic at an unknown point in its past.”
In the effort to prevent this type of rupture of an affected Takata airbag inflator used as a replacement part in a different Honda vehicle, Honda has been searching salvage yards nationwide for the past two years to find and secure recalled inflators. This voluntary effort has removed over 100,000 inflators from salvage yards. Honda also has requested that major online auction sites prohibit and stop the sale of affected airbags, the company stated.
Honda said it has shared all available information with NHTSA and will continue to cooperate with the agency throughout the process of investigating this inflator rupture.
The company noted that since 2014, the vehicle involved in this crash has been included in recalls calling for replacement of the Takata driver’s frontal airbag inflator. Starting in June 2014, Honda stated that it sent multiple recall notices to previous registered owners of this vehicle.
“In addition, Honda attempted numerous times to reach previous owners of this vehicle. However, publicly available information indicates that the owner of the vehicle at the time of the crash had acquired the vehicle in April of 2017, and our records show that no recall notices were sent to that owner in the three months prior to the crash in July 2017. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed. Honda currently has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators to complete the free repairs for all recalled Honda and Acura models in the United States, and we urge all owners of affected vehicles to seek repair as soon as possible.”
American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible.
Older vehicles, especially 2001-2003 model year vehicles, have a heightened risk of an airbag inflator rupture and pose the greatest safety risk. Vehicle owners can check their vehicles’ recall status at www.recalls.honda. com for Honda owners or www.recalls.acura. com for Acura owners or by calling their authorized dealer.