Defects in Takata airbag inflators have been linked to 11 deaths worldwide, and the passing of a Texas teen has forced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to take even larger steps to ensure the safety of the public, but could more have been done to prevent these deaths? A closer look at Honda internal memos has revealed a startling answer.
Did Honda Know About Takata Airbag Defects Before The Recall?
Reuters recently uncovered shocking information that could have serious legal consequences for the Honda Motor Co. In a series of memos and secret communications to the airbag manufacturer Takata Corp, Honda requested a redesign of Takata’s airbag modules. The request came in August 2009, right after airbag inflators had been linked to at least four injuries and a single death.
Did Honda Fix The Problem?
The automaker asked Takata to redesign its airbag inflators with a vent, so extra pressure would be diverted away from a driver’s neck and torso when the airbag went off. By 2011, Honda had implemented the redesigned units, but it wasn’t enough. In 2014, NHTSA implemented a recall due to exploding airbags that were killing drivers and passengers. That recall would expand to become the largest automotive recall in history, but did it come in time? Could more lives have been saved if Honda had notified NHTSA about the potential defect in 2009?
Will Honda Be Punished For Withholding Information?
Right now there are over 100 pending lawsuits against Honda because of the defective airbag inflators, and Reuters’ discovery could turn these cases against the company. Legal experts say that these memos might prove that Honda knew the inflators posed a safety risk before the 2014 recall, which could make it responsible for the injuries and deaths involving Honda vehicles carrying the dangerous airbags.
From the defective auto parts attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson.