Lawsuit over air bag fails
Hawaii sues car firms
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