In 2013, Florida resident Stephanie Erdman suffered what she called a “moderate frontal impact” while driving her 2002 Honda Civic. World-renowned for its reliability and safety, the otherwise picture perfect compact was fitted with, from the factory, a now famous Takata air bag. The moderate impact ignited the air bag’s firing system, causing the inflator casing to fragment and shoot shrapnel into Erdman’s nose, puncturing her right sinus cavity.
“I should not have been injured in the shocking and terrifying way that I was,” said Erdman in her testimony.
Needless to say, the Takata air bag recall has been one of the most talked about automotive recalls in recent memory, with approximately 7.8 million vehicles across 10 different manufacturers being affected. According to Consumer Reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined Takata $14,000 a day starting February 20 for not cooperating with the agency’s investigation. Honda, one of the manufacturers who has fully cooperated with the NHTSA and the one directly involved with the Erdman’s case, is now going after recall rates with support of an all-new federal law.
Introduced by U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Comm.), the bill would require any outstanding safety recalls to be completed before a vehicle could be registered legally by a state. Given that thousands of automobiles are being registered each month, this effort could greatly increase the recall completion rate, which, is mostly to blame for the Erdman case.
“Our goal is to achieve a 100 percent repair rate for every recall in order to prevent injuries and save lives, and this legislation will help achieve that,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America, Inc. in an official press release. According to Honda, about a third of recalled vehicles fail to make it to dealerships for repairs and given that the Takata recall covered numerous older vehicles, that failure rate has surly approached record levels.
Honda has been working hard at fixing the recall rate issue, having previously called for a Markey-Blumenthal type of legislation back in November of 2014.
The two senators have a high track record of going after the automotive industry as well, having introduced new legislation for recall reporting after the GM recall scandal in March of last year. Their most recent initiative marked 2014 as one of the highest for vehicle recalls and service campaigns, with 64 million issued due to potentially deadly safety defects. According to Senator Markey, “This legislation represents the three R’s of automotive safety: recall, repair, register.”
The full recall act can be found here.
In addition, Honda is asking that the below be included in all reporting. It’s everyone’s job to make sure drivers are safe no matter what, so please, pay attention to this:
Honda encourages anyone who owns a Honda or Acura vehicles to check its recall status by visiting recalls.honda.com, or call 1-800-999-1009, option 4, and recalls.acura.com or call 1-800-382-2238. Honda encourages customers with an affected vehicle to take immediate action to have their vehicle serviced at their authorized dealership. If a customer affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls or campaigns requests alternative transportation until their vehicle can be repaired, including use of a loaner vehicle or rental vehicle, Honda will accommodate their needs at no charge.