WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an urgent warning Thursday to the owners of more than 300,000 older Honda and Acura automobiles, over what regulators say is a “grave” risk their airbags will malfunction during a crash.
The warning involves airbags manufactured by Takata installed in certain Honda and Acura models between 2001 and 2003.
Lab tests have shown a risk as great as 50 percent of a “dangerous airbag inflater rupture” in a crash, the NHTSA said Thursday.
“These vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”
The vehicles listed as having this substantial risk 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
Officials said the airbags contain a manufacturing defect that could cause the safety devices to rupture — particularly in high humidity locations like Florida and Texas, the NHTSA said.
The vehicles with suspect airbags were recalled by Honda between 2008 and 2011, but officials say about 313,000, or 30 percent of the affected models, were never taken to dealerships for repair.
“The risk posed by the airbag inflators in these vehicles is grave, and it is critical they be repaired now to avoid more deaths and serious injuries,” the NHTSA said in a news release Thursday.
Federal officials and Honda are advising owners unsure whether their vehicles have been repaired to visit SaferCar.gov, which will inform them whether the reparations still need to be made.