Honda has said it’s verified three deaths and 45 injuries related to Takata air bags and is studying two more. Senators today suggested a death in 2003 in Arizona may be tied to the flaw, raising total fatalities to six.
Automakers are required to notify NHTSA of a defect within five days of detection and move toward a recall to fix it, or face a $35 million fine and possible criminal charges. Vehicle owners aren’t required to get those cars and trucks fixed.
In a highly publicized case that Honda is still evaluating to determine if it’s linked to the defect, Hien Tran, 51, died Oct. 2 after debris from the deployment of the air bag in her 2001 Honda Accord caused gashes on her throat that police initially thought were signs of a murder. The recall notice for her vehicle arrived after she died, a lawyer for her family said. The Tran family sued Honda and Takata this week.But Honda had no choice about putting a dangerous device inside its cars, the U.S. congress mandated it back in the 1990s. Many asked at the time--the air bag was first conceived as a safety device in 1952--why auto purchasers couldn't have the freedom to buy, or not buy, a car with an air bag? Why should something that GM and Ford found didn't sell--the marketplace test of the costs v. the benefits--be forced upon an unwilling public?
Now that the inevitable has happened; people being killed by the air bags, the blame is placed on the manufacturers for having less than perfect mechanical devices in their cars. Not upon the politicians and activists who mandated them.