Law­suit over air bag fails

Hawaii sues car firms

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS -

The state of Hawaii is su­ing Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer Takata over de­fec­tive air bags that it says threaten lives.

The law­suit filed in the First Cir­cuit Court of Hawaii also names man­u­fac­turer Honda.

Mil­lions of Takata’s de­fec­tive air bags have been re­called be­cause their in­fla­tors can ex­plode, spew­ing shrap­nel in cars.

Hawaii is the first state in the US to sue over the air bags, which are blamed for at least 11 deaths world­wide and more than 100 in­juries, As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

In­de­pen­dent re­ports have con­cluded that a chem­i­cal used in Takata air bags - am­mo­nium ni­trate - can de­grade when ex­posed to heat and hu­mid­ity, which can trig­ger ex­plo­sions.

“We’re par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble here in Hawaii to the de­fect that Takata has man­u­fac­tured... we’re not go­ing to wait un­til some­thing like this hap­pens,” said Stephen Levins, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Hawaii Of­fice of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

Takata switched to am­mo­nium ni­trate, a cheaper com­po­nent for the in­fla­tor of the com­pany’s air bags, de­spite the fact that it was widely known to be an un­sta­ble and dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal, Levins said. Honda was in a po­si­tion where the com­pany should have known what was go­ing on, Levins said. “Clearly Takata has en­gaged in a de­cep­tive man­ner in mar­ket­ing this, and ac­tu­ally has put prof­its, their own prof­its, over the per­sonal wel­fare and safety of people around the United States, and around the world, and people here in Hawaii.” Levins said. “It’s a sit­u­a­tion that’s in­tol­er­a­ble, and we're not go­ing to put up with it.”

Takata has yet to com­ment and Honda said it has not yet re­ceived the law­suit so can­not com­ment.

More than 70,000 cars con­tain­ing Takata air bags have been sold in Hawaii, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. The state is seek­ing penal­ties of $10,000 per vi­o­la­tion.

11 deaths and more than 100 in­juries have been linked to the ex­plod­ing airbags

DANGER: Hawaii con­sumer pro­tec­tion chief Stephen Levins shows pic­tures of de­fec­tive airbags that have ex­ploded

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