Last month, tests revealed that each time certain older model Honda and Acura vehicles’ Takata airbags deploy, there’s up to a 50% chance that it will rupture, shooting shrapnel at drivers and passengers. While federal regulators urged owners not to drive these vehicles, lawmakers are now calling on Honda to issue the same warning to owners of vehicles containing the defective airbags.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Ed Markey (MA) urged Honda in a letter [PDF] addressed to CEO Toshiaki Mikoshiba to take the strongest possible action to ensure that certain model year 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura vehicles with such airbags are immediately removed from the road.
“Honda has a responsibility to clearly communicate the danger to consumers so that they understand the grave risks at hand,” the senators wrote. “A ‘do not drive’ instruction should be conspicuously displayed on any recall notices, as well as this new test data.”
According to NHTSA, airbags in model year 2001-2002 Honda Civic and Accord, 2002 to 2003 Acura TL, 2002 Honda CR-V, Odyssey, 2003 Honda Pilot, and 2003 Acura CL vehicles contain a manufacturing defect which greatly increases the potential for a rupture when a crash causes the air bag to deploy.
“With as high as a 50% chance of a dangerous airbag inflator rupture in a crash, these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last month. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”
NHTSA said at the time that eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to Takata ruptures occurred in Honda vehicles from this period.
While the vehicles in question were recalled between 2008 and 2011 and airbags were replaced with safer models, NHTSA estimates that 313,000 vehicles with the defect remain unrepaired.
NHTSA said in June that Honda was committed to immediately taking additional actions to enhance their efforts to find and fix recalled vehicles.
However, Markey and Blumenthal note in their letter that they are “extremely disappointed that Honda does not appear to have taken this important step” to issue a “do not drive” instruction to owners of the affected vehicles.
“We call on you to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership,” the letter states, suggesting Honda provide mobile mechanics who can travel to where an owner lives or works to conduct the necessary repair, or provide free towing to the closest repair facility.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.