WASHINGTON — Honda Motor Co. on Friday issued a “Do Not Drive” warning for 8,200 2001-2003 model year Acura and Honda vehicles with unrepaired Takata airbag inflators in the U.S., auto safety regulators said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said owners of those vehicles should not drive them until they get repairs, warning “the risk to vehicle occupants is dire.”
The urgent warning covers various 2001-2003 model year Honda Accord, Civic CR-V and Odyssey, Pilot and Acura 3.2CL and 3.2 TL vehicles with so-called “Alpha” inflators.
More than 30 deaths worldwide — including at least 23 U.S. fatalities — and hundreds of injuries in various automakers’ vehicles since 2009 are linked to Takata airbag inflators that can explode, unleashing potentially deadly metal shrapnel inside vehicles.
NHTSA said last month a February death of the driver of a 2002 Accord in Bowling Green, Ky., was due to a faulty airbag inflator. Honda has reported 17 U.S. deaths and more than 200 injuries in the U.S. related to Takata inflator ruptures.
Over the last decade, more than 67 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled in the U.S. and more than 100 million worldwide, in the biggest auto safety callback in history.
Honda said on Friday it has attempted to reach owners more than 18.3 million times including mailed notifications, emails, phone calls and door-to-door visits. The Japanese automaker emphasized it is offering free towing and loaner vehicles for the free recall repair. Honda said it replaced or accounted for more than 99 percent of the “Alpha” inflators.
Honda said “we’re concerned for the safety of those who have not responded and are now adopting the new Stop Driving messaging to spur them to act.”
In November, Chrysler parent Stellantis urged owners of 276,000 older U.S. vehicles to immediately stop driving after three crash deaths tied to faulty Takata airbag inflators were reported.
NHTSA said the Takata recalls were spurred by propellant that could break down after long-term exposure to high-temperature fluctuations and humidity.