By Tricia Kang |Staff Writer|
At least 16 deaths are now linked to the defect in Honda and Acura safety features of air bags deploying. Resulting in the recall of nearly 100 million air bags worldwide by more than a dozen automakers around the world and as close as Riverside County.
As of last month, 11 people have died and more than 100 have been injured due to the malfunction.
The airbags in a car collision are known to explode on impact.
Instead of modifying the impact of the crash, these recalled airbags contain a propellant that causes them to inflate in a crash but when exposed with high impact can blow apart a metal canister or debris bursting towards the driver or passengers.
Inflated air bags designed to contain the explosion, the more heat and humidity the engine face the more likely they are to malfunction.
One of the most recent accidents occurred in Riverside County was on Sept. 30.
The victim was identified as Delia Robles, a Corona resident who died at the hospital after a crash at a Riverside intersection.
“Looking to purchase a Honda as a mom to be, if theses recalls were to happen and put me and my newborn in danger, although not all will have these defects I’m sure the car would have a warranty and I would go to the dealership and ask for higher authority to either have my car fixed or replace with no expense,” said student Merelyn Busby.
Recall notices were sent out to those driving a 2001 – 2003 models of Honda and Acura vehicles.
There is up to a 50 percent chance of dangerous air bags, that may inflate in a car crash.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “A 50-year-old woman from Corona died driving a 2001 Honda Civic that was first recalled in 2008 and never repaired.” NHTSA
“Millions of people have been forced to keep driving cars that pose a deadly risk because there aren’t enough replacement airbags to make all the necessary repairs until 2019,” according to NHTSA.
Lawsuits are being brought against Japanese based Takat.
The companies were aware of the defect and after conducting secret evaluations and assessments of the defected area, revealed dangerous flaws in serious safety hazards and were not reported to the federal safety regulators.
Allegedly the Takata company arranged for their their engineers to wipe out all prior test results, leaving defected airbags not repaired.
Takata and 17 other automakers seek financial cooperation in paying for these mass recalls, making it one of the biggest recalls in U.S. history.
Student Richard Chae said, “As a daily commuter, I would not feel safe driving to school and would consider buying a new car with these recalls and potential dangers that can put me at risk.”
Being a commuter school, Honda civics could be cost efficient to college students.
The Honda Civic involved in the Riverside crash had been included in multiple recalls since 2008.
Mailing multiple recall notices to the car’s registered owners, when upon inspection found that their Takata inflators were extremely dangerous, but its record indicate the vehicles was never repaired.