Takata Airbag Flaw Memo Could Expose Honda To More LawsuitsMarch 28, 2016
A recent report revealed a 2009 memo from Honda regarding their knowledge of the Takata airbag flaw, years before the deadly design defect made headlines. The memo showed that Honda requested “fail-safe” airbag inflator replacement parts to deal with the widespread Takata airbag flaw. According to the report, Honda did not disclose its knowledge of the defective airbag systems to a federal auto safety agency, a violation of U.S. law.
Details of the Takata Airbag Flaw
The Takata airbag flaw involved the gas used to inflate the airbags in a collision. Laboratory tests revealed that the gas could become highly volatile in humid conditions. Reports surfaced that, when the airbag deployed, it did so with such violence that the airbag assembly exploded. The explosion propelled metal and plastic shrapnel into the driver and front seat passenger. So far, the Takata airbag flaw has been attributed in at least ten fatal accidents and more than a hundred injuries.
Takata Airbag Flaw Memo Asks For Redesign
The report stated that the memo from Honda requested a new airbag system design to remedy the Takata airbag flaw. The design would include air vents to reduce the pressure directed at the front seat passengers, which would minimize the risk of an explosive deployment. According to a Honda spokesman, the new design would “protect against the possibility of future manufacturing errors.” The new design would be part of a “fail-safe” system that would address the issues revealed by the Takata airbag flaw.
NHTSA Investigates Takata Airbag Flaw Memo
When an automaker discovers a potential safety risk in their vehicles, such as Honda reportedly found in the Takata airbag flaw, U.S. law requires them to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Honda spokesman released a statement saying that the request for a redesign “was not an acknowledgment of a larger design flaw in the inflators.” The statement also mentioned that, since the request did not mention the potentially fatal Takata airbag flaw, the company was not obligated to inform the NHTSA.
Experts: Takata Airbag Flaw Memo Hurts Honda
Several legal experts weighed in on the impact of the Takata airbag flaw memo. A corporate law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit told reporters that Honda’s “technical argument” about its failure to inform the NHTSA doesn’t hold water. “They are responsible for every part on their car,” he said, “and also responsible to report a problem with any part on that car.” A Los Angeles-based plaintiff’s attorney told Reuters that Honda “had an obligation to tell the government (about the Takata airbag flaw) back in 2009. Good luck defending that.”
Know Your Rights in a Takata Airbag Recall Lawsuit
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NOTE: This blog post is a news story and does not constitute and endorsement of the Amaro Law Firm by any parties mentioned herein.