American Honda Motor Co. is telling its dealers to ask customers to sign a document acknowledging the airbags in certain 2001-2011 year model Honda and Acura vehicles are defective and dangerous, and may explode if the car is involved in a crash. The form, called the Airbag Inflator Recall Disclosure and Acknowledgment Document, would release the dealers and the automaker from liability for serious injuries and deaths resulting from the failure of the airbags in the event of a crash.
“Lawyers in our firm have been investigating potential claims involving airbags that exploded and injured occupants of vehicles involved in crashes. Some of the crashes were very minor. We were shocked to learn that Honda Motor Company is requiring customers buying certain 2001 -2011 used Honda and Acura cars to sign a document that would give dealers and the automaker immunity in the event of a crash of one of the vehicles,” said Beasley Allen Founding Shareholder Jere L. Beasley. “In effect, Honda is getting the customer to acknowledge that they are buying a car with a defective airbag that could injure or kill them in a crash. The Honda document acknowledges that occupants could be ‘injured’ or ‘killed’ if the front airbags deploy. NHTSA has been investigating Takata, the supplier, and it appears that there are a tremendous number of cars on the highways with defective airbags that create extremely hazardous and dangerous conditions. There have been millions of recalls of vehicles with the Takata airbags involving at least 10 different automakers.”
The brash move is related to defective airbags manufactured by Takata Corp., a Japanese company. Automakers, including Isuzu, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Mitsubishi and General Motors (GM), have recalled vehicles to fix faulty airbags that could result in the airbags not deploying properly in a crash. The airbag defect includes the risk of the airbag exploding, sending sharp metal fragments into the face and body of the driver and passengers.
The defect initially emerged in 2001, when Isuzu recalled vehicles with the airbag problem. It escalated in 2008 with a major Honda recall, and continued with additional recalls by Honda and other major automakers in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) include cases where drivers died as a result of being struck by shrapnel from the exploding airbags. NHTSA Office of Defects Investigations has finally opened a Preliminary Evaluation into the potentially defective Takata airbags.
Honda vehicles affected by the recall for potentially defective Takata airbags include the 2001-07 Accord with four-cylinder engines; 2001-05 Accord with V-6 engines; 2001-05 Civic; 2002-06 CR-V; 2003-11 Element; 2002-04 Odyssey; 2003-07 Pilot; and 2006 Ridgeline. Also included from Acura are the 2003-06 MDX, 2002-03 TL and CL and 2005 RL.