The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has started an engineering analysis involving the safety problem in 2008 Honda Accords that can cause air bags to deploy when a front-seat passenger shuts the door. It’s believed that this problem has caused more than a dozen injuries. This action by NHTSA is the result of an investigation by the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). The task force found nearly 300 incidents of air bags deploying unnecessarily in 2008 Honda Accord four-door vehicles, an issue that has injured at least 14 people, according to NHTSA.
Thus far NHTSA’s investigation has shown that the driver or passenger-side air bags can activate when one of the front-seat occupants shuts their door. The agency said in its defect investigation update:
An engineering analysis has been opened to determine, among other things, the risk of air bag deployment injuries to vehicle users in vulnerable positions.
Honda Motor Co. took steps to address the potential problem in certain vehicles in 2008 when it adjusted certain crash thresholds to account for the force of shutting doors, according to the NHTSA. It made those software design changes for vehicles made in the U.S. and Japan, according to the agency.
NHTSA launched a separate investigation in July into air bags made by Takata Corp. This came after Toyota Motor Corp.’s announcement that it has expanded a previous recall for air bags to include 2.3 million vehicles. As we have reported, Toyota – which said in June that it is recalling 650,000 vehicles in Japan for the problem – isn’t the only company affected by the Takata air bag problems. Last year, more than 3.3 million Toyota, Honda and Nissan Motor Co. vehicles were recalled for a problem with their air bags that could cause them to fail to inflate or explode, sending metal particles into the car’s interior.
Between 2008 and 2011, Honda conducted a series of recalls concerning the driver’s bag inflator ruptures on various 2001 through 2004 models. According to ODI, none of the recalls were regional in nature or attributable to atmospheric conditions in field use. The ODI has also investigated a report of a Chrysler Group LLC Dodge Charger that also had an air bag rupture. The office said three injuries appear to have resulted from the issue. There will be much more to report as the defective airbag saga develops.
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