The sweeping Takata airbag recall, the largest in automotive history, has involved over 19 million cars manufactured by twelve automakers. The recall has surrounded faulty airbags that, sometimes, have resulted in serious injuries to vehicle occupants due to airbag module ruptures which sent shrapnel exploding from the air bag module upon deployment. This defect has manifested itself in warmer, humid climates, such as Florida, where I practice law. In many cases, the defect stems from older modules containing ammonium nitrate. These modules have been found to break down over time due to humidity and other environmental factors.
Recently, Honda has announced a recall of 515 of its midsized SUV – the 2016 Honda CR-V, due to a structural failure in the inflator casing. This failure is believed to have been caused by a flaw in the manufacturing process. Thankfully, the recall was instituted after only 30 of the vehicles were sold to the public. So far, the automobile manufacturers cannot keep up with the pace of the recall with less than a quarter of the affected cars in the U.S. being repaired. This leaves consumers holding the bag and the auto makers, once again, struggling to keep up with safety measures designed to protect the public from their own products.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come down on Honda and Takata by forcing a recall, the government must take a larger role in protecting the public from this serious problem by holding automobile manufacturers’ feet to the fire on this important issue. It is incomprehensible how Honda can continue to manufacture vehicles containing defective airbags when it knows full well that the public, and the government, have shined a light on their manufacturing processes. Perhaps that light must be brighter to get the attention of the powers that be at Honda.