NHTSA upgrades airbag probe on 2008 Honda Accord sedans

Article by Andrew Christian, on August 7, 2014

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is upgrading a probe into around 335,195 Honda Accord sedans (MY2008) from “preliminary evaluation” to “engineering analysis.” The upgrade means a recall could be up ahead if NHTSA determines that Honda needs to address a safety issue.

NHTSA has received 293 complaints that airbags – either at driver or passenger’s side -- in the model may deploy when the door is shut with too much force. Around 14 injuries were tied to the issue, according to documents from NHTSA.

In some instances, the side seat-mounted torso airbag could also deploy inadvertently, NHTSA said. The agency also said it was probing the risk of airbag deployment injuries to occupants in vulnerable positions. NHTSA launched the initial preliminary evaluation in late January.

In June 2008, near the end of 2008 model-year Accord production, the carmaker changed the crash parameter for door-closing force in the electronic control unit's software code to trim the cases of inadvertent side airbag deployments.

NHTSA said the number of inadvertent airbag deployments had dropped since that. According to Honda, said the two-door Accord used a different software crash parameter than the four-door version.

In a case last fall, the passenger-side curtain airbag deployed inadvertently when an owner closed the door, according to a complaint filed with NHTSA. It hit her nine-year-old son, who suffered from a concussion and blood behind the ear.

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