Federal investigators are looking into reports about defective airbags in Honda Accord vehicles that deploy suddenly and for no reason. According to a CNN news report, some consumers have reported that just closing the door has caused airbags to deploy in some Honda Accords.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mentions 28 complaints of side airbag deployment as the cars’ doors were closed. The airbags are supposed to protect occupants in the event of a side impact collision. Two of the complaints involved injuries.
The cars that are involved in this recall are 2008 model year Accords. NHTSA officials believe that about 363,000 cars could be involved in this probe. Honda officials say they will cooperate with NHTSA during the investigation and that they will also continue with their own internal review.
The Importance of Side Airbags
Side airbags perform an important safety function during broadside or T-bone crashes, which commonly occur at street intersections. This could happen when one driver fails to stop at a red light or stop sign and strikes another vehicle or when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle.
A 2006 study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that side airbags that were designed to protect occupants’ heads reduce fatalities in side-impact collisions by about 37 percent in cars and by 52 percent in SUVs. Side airbags were first introduced in 1995. NHTSA is only conducting a preliminary investigation into the problem and the potential safety implications at this time.
Issuing a Prompt Recall
When a safety defect is discovered, automakers are required to report it promptly to NHTSA, which will then consider investigating the matter. If it turns out to be a valid safety concern, NHTSA elevates the probe to an engineering analysis. If there is a determination that the defect is dangerous, then, the automaker is asked to issue a recall. This can be a lengthy process and it often takes several months if not years.
Conducting a safety recall is a costly proposition and that is the reason why automakers drag their feet when it comes to issuing these recalls. However, it is the duty and responsibility of automakers to issue a timely safety recall in order to ensure the safety of the consumers.