An Atlanta area man was stunned last week when the air bag in his 2008 Honda Accord deployed unexpectedly. Chris Androvic said he was driving his car under normal conditions when his airbags exploded in Forsyth County last Monday afternoon. Androvic was traveling in heavy afternoon traffic when the air bags above his head and his seat inexplicably deployed.
Surprisingly, a local Honda dealership said that the problem was his responsibility. Adrovic says they gave him a bill for over $5,000, as there were no recalls in place for this type of defect in Honda Accords making the damage his responsibility. But Adrovic, through his research on safecar.gov, found dozens of complaints specifically of other 2008 Honda Accord owners for similar incidents.
Honda responded to the situation with a letter stating that, “Neither NHTSA or Honda have initiated any recall action.” Adding that, “Customarily, a recall would be initiated only when a defect has been observed in many cases . . .” Though Honda said they will continue to carefully monitor the situation.
The NHTSA also responded in statement saying, “NHTSA is aware of the complaint involving side curtain airbags in certain Honda vehicles and there is no formal investigation at this time. While there have been no injuries, fatalities, or fires associated with the complaints, the agency is continuing to monitor the issue. When considering whether to open an investigation, NHTSA takes into account the severity as well as the frequency of an occurrence – there is no pre-set number of complaints that would trigger an investigation.”
As a Georgia Product Liability Attorney, I would advise anyone who owns a 2008 Accord to carefully monitor the investigation, and to watch for any recalls that may be issued. Though there have been no major incidents with the airbag explosions to this point, this is definitely a malfunction that has the potential to result in a serious injury. Last year the same number of incidents of driver’s side airbags exploding too forcefully caused Honda to initiate a recall so it seems to be a possibility they may consider the same sort of action with this problem.
Information for recalls on the Honda Accord and other vehicles can be found at the NHTSA Search for Recalls database.