Honda has announced it will pay $96 million to resolve allegations of an air bag defect in some of the company’s vehicles.
The money will be paid to 46 states, Washington, D.C., and three U.S. territories, CBS News reported.
The settlement is the result of an investigation into allegations that the company failed to inform consumers and regulators about an air bag defect in Honda vehicles that could potentially cause a rupture and lead to metal debris flying at passengers.
The faulty Takata air bag systems have caused the deaths of at least 14 people in the U.S., according to CBS News. An additional 200 people have been injured, New York Attorney General Letitia James said this week.
“We’re holding Honda to account and sending a message that placing profits over safety will never be accepted,” James said in a statement Tuesday. “Air bags are supposed to keep drivers and passengers safe, but Honda’s manufacturing defect and their hiding of the facts led to deaths and injuries. Today’s settlement will not only guarantee Honda replaces all remaining defective air bags on the road, but that the company takes specific actions to ensure any future defect is thoroughly made public in the future to avoid this type of danger.”
In 2017, carmakers BMW, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota agreed to settle a similar case related to the Takata air bag defect.
Those settlements resolved claims that the companies manufactured and sold vehicles with defective Takata air bags, leading to economic losses for the plaintiffs.
The car companies recalled millions of vehicles that were equipped with the allegedly defective air bags.
In a 2017 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Takata itself agreed to pay up to $1 billion over allegations of criminal wrongdoing.
The investigation into the Honda vehicles’ air bag defect began in December 2015, CBS News reported.
The Takata air bags became the largest auto part recall in U.S. history in 2016 after researchers determined vehicles with a particular air bag design were prone to allow water to seep in; vehicles operating in a humid climates were determined to be at the greatest risk.
James and others say they’re happy the settlement over the Honda vehicles includes the addition of new safety protocols for added protection.
“This settlement with Honda makes clear that companies, large and small, will face serious consequences when they put profits over protecting the safety of their customers,” Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement. “Our coalition of Attorneys General is pleased that, as a result of this multistate investigation, Honda will now improve vehicle safety for drivers and passengers and implement policies company-wide that will help prevent future deaths and injuries.”
CBS News reports the company has recalled approximately 12.9 million Acura and Honda vehicles that were equipped with defective air bag inflators. Honda is Acura’s parent company.
Honda has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the air bag defect.
“The now-bankrupt airbag inflator supplier, Takata, pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal criminal fraud charges for deceiving Honda and other automakers about the safety of its airbags,” Honda said, according to CBS News. “Under the terms of these civil settlements, Honda does not acknowledge any wrongdoing.”
About $1 million of the $96.5 million settlement will go to the National Association of Attorneys General, CBS News reported. Another $11.3 million will go to the state of California, and the remainder will settle the lawsuits filed in each jurisdiction.
Do you think your Acura or Honda vehicle may be equipped with one of the allegedly defective air bags? Tell us your experience in the comments.
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