Millions of people will hit the road this July 4th weekend aware of the dangers of holiday travel, but more than 300,000 car owners are being told, their car's just flat out too dangerous to drive. Those people are being implored to finally heed Honda's airbag recall warning and get their vehicle fixed.
The most recent United States death from a recalled air bag was 17 year old Huma Hanif of Fort Bend County. She died in a late March 2016 fender bender she most certainly would have survived, if it hadn't been for the 2002 Honda she was driving. It was equipped with a Takata air bag that didn't just deploy, it exploded. Hanif was hit in the neck and killed by shrapnel.
According to Honda, Hanif was the 9th fatality in the US from the recalled airbag. With another accident in Malaysia just days ago, Takata air bags have killed at least 11 people world wide and injured more than a hundred.
"We deeply regret that several individuals driving our vehicles have been killed or injured when the metal fragments have passed through the air bag cushion in these types of deployments," says Bruce Smith, Senior Vice President of American Honda Motor Corporation, in a video taped statement posted on line.
The corporate statement also offers an explanation as to what is going wrong.
The Takata air bags have an inflator device, that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is now rupturing in up to 50% of the tests conducted in a laboratory setting.
The problem is linked to the age of the device, coupled with extreme heat and humidity, that may be degrading a chemical compound inside the inflator. That's why the vehicles said to be at the highest risk were manufactured between 2001 and 2003.
Specifially the high risk vehicles are:
2001-2002 Honda Civic
2001-2002 Honda Accord
2002-2003 Acura TL
2002 Honda CR-V
2002 Honda Odyssey
2003 Acura CL
2003 Honda Pilot
Honda recalled these cars at least 5 years ago, but there are about 313,000 vehicles still being driven around that still have not been repaired.
"Please," Smith continues in the corporate video, "Contact your authorized dealer to have your vehicle repaired as soon as possible."
Perhaps you have a newer model Honda or Acura? Or maybe you don't even own a Honda or Acura?
The expanded recall of Takata airbags now reaches tens of millions of cars that are not in the high risk category, and are made by 14 different car companies.
It's best to be safe and take advantage of the NHTSA's VIN look-up tool to see if your car need repair.