Arizona motorists may be interested to know that faulty Takata airbags have now been linked with 20 deaths. The Japanese automaker Honda reported on Dec. 20 that a driver in Louisiana lost his life on July 10 when the airbag in his 2004 sedan malfunctioned. However, after inspecting the vehicle involved, Honda engineers determined that the faulty airbag had been salvaged from a 2002 Honda Civic.
Honda says that it sent several notices about the urgent Takata airbag recall to the owners of the 2004 Honda Civic that crashed in Louisiana. Furthermore, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that the carmaker is working more diligently to address the issue than some of its competitors. A report released by NHTSA in November reveals that about 65 percent of the Hondas covered by the nationwide recall have been repaired. The repair rates for other auto manufacturers ranged from an alarming 2 percent to 50 percent.
Honda was Takata's biggest customer, and the carmaker has been praised by consumer advocates for the steps it has taken to address the faulty airbags issue. In fact, Honda representatives have been known to visit the homes of vehicle owners who ignored recall notices, and the company has also turned to social media to contact its customers when mail notifications failed.
Manufacturers are expected to take all reasonable steps to address safety issues, and they may face product liability lawsuits when this duty of care is not met. Personal injury attorneys with experience in this area may study the steps taken to address potentially dangerous defects. Such information could come into play in a lawsuit.