Honda Quietly Requested Takata Airbag Design Change in 2009
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Apr 07, 2016 in Defective Products
In recent months, faulty Takata airbags have spurred the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.
Last week, it was discovered that Honda requested the airbags be redesigned in 2009, after they were linked to four deaths. However, Honda never reported the request for change to regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to memos and presentations, Honda requested that Takata redesign their airbags to include a fail-safe inflator. Honda states the reason for the request was to protect against future manufacturing errors. The automaker says the request in no way indicates it knew about the inflator’s deadly design flaw when the redesign was requested.
Takata followed through with the request and produced a fail-safe inflator modification by adding vents to divert pressure away from the driver’s torso and neck in the event of an explosion.
Honda and Takata Vulnerable to Lawsuits
Under U.S. law, automobile manufacturers must disclose all vehicle safety risks and any actions taken to avoid them to NHTSA regulators. In this case, the redesign of the Takata airbags was never reported.
Honda, however, claims it was not required to report the change because the redesign request was due to manufacturing defects and not safety issues.
The discovery of the undisclosed airbag redesign may put Honda and Takata in a more vulnerable position in pending lawsuits. Honda claims that, to its knowledge, manufacturing errors by Takata were responsible for the deadly inflator ruptures.
Some legal experts have suggested that Honda requested the airbag redesign due to safety concerns, which would have made notifying NHTSA regulators a legal requirement. Because Honda failed to notify NHTSA, it could face penalties, fines or additional legal action.
Has a faulty Takata airbag caused undue harm to you or a loved one? If so, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your injuries. The product liability lawyers at The Phillips Law Group will fight to maximize your settlement by holding negligent manufacturers accountable for their faulty products.