West Virginia residents who own Honda vehicles manufactured between 2001 and 2003 should not drive them until an authorized dealer has replaced the factory air bag sensors. On Feb. 3, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a “Do Not Drive” directive for certain Honda Civic and Accord sedans, CR-V and Pilot SUVs and Odyssey minivans because the Takata air bag inflaters fitted to them could explode without warning and shower drivers and passengers with dangerous debris. Honda owners who wish to find out if their vehicles are covered by the NHTSA order can visit the agency’s website and enter their vehicle identification number in the box provided.
The same odds as a coin flip
Millions of vehicles have already been recalled due to faulty Takata air bag sensors, but the NHTSA discovered during a record check that many older Honda vehicles have not been returned to dealers to have the necessary work completed. According to an NHTSA representative, the faulty sensors have a 50% chance of rupturing in even minor collisions that would not normally cause air bags to deploy.
Deaths and injuries
Takata air bag sensor problems prompted the largest wave of defective product recalls in United States history. The now bankrupt Japanese auto parts supplier used ammonium nitrate to create the tiny explosions required to deploy air bags in an emergency, but it did not take adequate steps to prevent the chemical from becoming volatile over time. This happens more quickly when automobiles are stored and driven in hot and humid climates. Accidents linked to faulty Takata air bag sensors have killed 24 people and caused approximately 400 serious injuries in the United States alone.
Recall notices should be taken seriously
Media outlets have not reported when these deadly accidents occurred, but many of them likely took place after the problem was identified and recall notices were sent to vehicle owners. Honda says that it has contacted vehicle owners by telephone, regular mail and email, and the company even dispatched representatives to the homes of owners who did not reply. Cars, SUVs and minivans with dangerous defects pose a threat to all road users, which is why recall notices should be taken seriously and responded to promptly.