In a startling revelation it has been said that as many as 300,000 Honda cars are still fitted with defective air bags that are prone to explosion putting at risk lives of the driver as well as passengers and despite warnings from the automaker and regulators, owners of hundreds of thousands of cars haven’t turned up to get their cars repaired.
This points to what is being pegged as a major flaw in the U.S. safety recall system because owners can be hard to find, particularly when it comes to used cars that have changed hands multiple times. While this is one of the reasons why it is difficult to repair the faulty air bags in the cars, some owners do not take these warnings seriously and do not get their vehicles repaired no matter how many times they are notified. Honda says they have tried everything possible – mailed letters, placed Facebook ads, made telephone calls, and in some instances even visited owners urging them to get their faulty air bags repaired.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create an explosion to inflate air bags. However, there is a major issue with the use of this chemical as it can deteriorate when exposed to heat and humidity and blow apart a metal canister, spewing shrapnel. Such incidents have caused deaths of as many as 16 people worldwide and injured more than 100. Just last week authorities said one of those air bags, equipped with an inflator made by Takata Corp., ruptured and killed a California woman, adding urgency to the search for the noncompliant vehicles.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is of the opinion that Honda isn’t doing enough and that the automaker should do more. Honda on the other hand says that it is doing all it can to get the air bags repaired as fast as possible and says that it is not the lack of efforts that still 300,000 air bags need to be repaired.
Takata inflator recall has been one of the most massive recalls in the history of the auto industry with as many as 69 million vehicles recalled due to possible rupture. In June, government regulators said testing showed that inflators in 313,000 older Hondas and Acuras had as high as a 50 percent chance of rupturing in a crash. The regulators told owners of the cars to stop driving them and get them repaired. But four months later, only 13,000 of the cars have been repaired.
Safety advocates have called for laws banning the sale of any vehicle until recall repairs are made, or a national requirement that recalls be done before license plates can be renewed. But so far, there are few such requirements.
Such demands aside, authorities are now working with Honda to find out new ways of getting in touch with owners of vehicles who haven’t got their air bags repaired.