A flawed auto defect reporting system and lack of oversight by the federal regulatory agency has led to a situation where explosive airbags that caused dozens of injuries and several fatalities to slip under the radar for at least a decade.
According to a news report in The New York Times, Japanese supplier Takata’s faulty airbags were connected with recalls of more than 14 million vehicles.
The Times reports that the delay in these recalls were due to problems within Honda and throughout the auto industry.
The airbags in question deployed with such explosive force that they sent shrapnel and chemicals flying into the passenger compartment.
One incident in December 2009 involved Gurjit Rathore who was driving a Honda Accord. She crashed into a mail truck in Virginia causing her airbag to explode.
The 33-year-old woman bled to death in front of her children after being hit by shrapnel.
Delay in Recalling Faulty Vehicles
According to the Times investigation, a Honda Accord with a faulty airbag that erupted and spewed metal fragments was first brought to the automaker’s attention in 2004. But both Honda and Takata wrote off the incident as “an anomaly.”
Although the first defective airbag was reported 10 years ago, a flawed reporting system throughout the auto industry covered up the seriousness of the issue. Honda was absolutely aware of the problem. It should have recalled these defective vehicles a long time ago.
The deaths and injuries should have never happened.
A Flawed System
The Times reports that automakers are allowed to use “a minimalist approach” when it comes to reporting vehicle safety defects, something that kept the explosive airbags from raising a red flag.
The Japanese automaker also failed to look into the matter and delayed recalling vehicles with the faulty Takata airbags until 2008. Just last month, Honda issued its ninth recall connected with the faulty airbags.
This brings the grand total of Honda and Acura vehicles recalled for this issue to six million.
What Consumers Should Know
These reports only tell us that automakers do not promptly recall vehicles although the law requires them to do so. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), despite its responsibility to hold automakers accountable for delayed recalls, rarely succeeds in doing that.
As with the delayed GM recall, which did nothing to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by the vehicles’ ignition recall, Honda got away dragging its feet on the airbag recalls. It’s the consumer who ultimately ends up paying the price.
Our legal practice has seen a number of victims who have been catastrophically injured due to defective vehicles that should have been recalled. Our law firm is committed to holding automakers and other defective product makers accountable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause.
We are always ready to fight for the rights of our injured clients so that we can make it clear to these corporations that it is never acceptable to put profits before people.