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Arizona reaches $5 million settlement with Honda over defective airbags

A deployed airbag is seen in a 2001 Honda Accord at a salvage yard on May 22, 2015, in Medley, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday announced a $5 million settlement with Honda for allegations of concealing safety issues regarding defective airbags.

The settlement includes American Honda Motor Company, Inc. and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. for defective Takata airbag systems in certain Acura and Honda vehicles.

A total of more than $3.7 million will be given in restitution and repair incentive gift cards for Arizona consumers.

Honda also agreed to injunctive relief which will require it to not use “deceptive or misleading advertising” and create a system in which employees can report safety concerns to management.

Under the pending settlement, Honda agreed to pay up to $5 million to be dispersed as follows:

  • Up to $2.13 million in incentive gift cards to compel consumers to repair their vehicles for free and help remove the dangerous airbags off Arizona’s roads.
  • Up to $1.65 million in restitution for eligible Arizona consumers who initially purchased a Honda vehicle with a Takata airbag currently subject to recall between Sept. 1, 2012, and Nov. 3, 2015.
  • $650,000 for outreach to inform consumers of the recall and to encourage drivers to get their defective airbags replaced.
  • $100,000 to the State for other consumer outreach efforts.
  • $500,000 as payment to the State.

Those who own an Acura or Honda vehicles are encouraged to visit the airbag recall website or call 888-234-2138 to see if their model is up for recall. All safety repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers, according to a press release.

Arizonans will not have to take any additional action to receive a restitution check or repair incentive gift card, as they will be sent directly to eligible consumers.

There are more than 15,000 consumers eligible to receive a $100 restitution check after purchasing an Acura or Honda model in Arizona with Takata airbags between September 2012 and November 2015.

Approximately 40,000 Arizonans will be mailed gift cards, which will be in the amount of $150 for vehicles with alpha inflators or $50 for those with non-alpha inflators. However, gift cards will only be activated once the vehicle has been taken to a Honda dealership and the defective airbag is replaced.

Those with questions regarding restitution or the gift card incentive program are encouraged to contact the claims administrator at 1-855-917-3583.

“Defective Takata airbags have hurt and killed Arizonans and continue to be a serious hazard,” Arizona Attorney Genearl Mark Brnovich said in the release. “We estimate more than 40,000 of these dangerous airbags are still on the roads in Arizona and we are pleading with the owners to get their vehicles repaired immediately.”

For 15 years, Honda used Takata airbag inflators that used phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate as a propellant in certain Acura and Honda vehicles for model years 2001-2016. The defective airbag inflators have the possibility of rupturing and sending metal shrapnel throughout the vehicle’s cabin.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office alleged that Honda should have warned its customers by September 2012, but consumers were not notified until November 2015 following regulators’ $200 million fine of Takata, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

The defective airbags have caused over 200 injuries and at least 15 fatalities in the U.S., including two deaths in Arizona, according to the release. On Aug. 20, a driver of a 2002 Honda Civic was killed in Mesa after a defective airbag exploded in a collision, the Arizona Attorney General’s office said in the release.

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