See the following news Story from WTHR

Two U.S. Senators are putting more pressure on Honda to get hundreds of thousands of dangerous vehicles into the repair shop.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have sent a letterto the president of Honda North America, urging the automaker to issue a “do not drive” order for more than 300,000 vehicles due to defective airbags that have already proven deadly.

The letter says: “Honda has a responsibility to clearly communicate the danger to consumers so that they understand the grave risks at hand” and “a ‘do not drive’ instruction is absolutely warranted.”

The unusual request comes two months after the National Highway Traffic Administration expanded a nationwide recall of airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation. The recall now impacts at least 70 million vehicles in the United States. Those vehicles have defective inflator modules that can explode when activated in a crash, shooting sharp pieces of metal shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

NHTSA’s biggest concern now focuses on more than 300,000 older-model Hondas and Acuras recently identified as having Takata airbags most likely to explode. The federal safety agency says lab tests of the front driver-side airbag inflators in those cars reveal an alarming rupture rate as high as 50%.

“That means when these defective inflators are activated in a collision – even a low speed fender bender – there is a one-in-two chance they can spew out shrapnel at the driver, resulting in severe injury or even death,” explained NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind.

Investigators say that’s exactly what killed 17-year-old Huma Hanif in April, when a defective airbag exploded during a minor accident involving her 2002 Honda Civic. She is one of at least ten people killed because of the defective airbags. More than 100 others have been injured, including Corey Burdick of Florida.

“I just thought I was going to die. I thought right here on the curb, this is it,” Burdick said, recalling the sharp metal that lodged in his eye after the airbag in his 2001 Honda Civic exploded in an accident.

The following vehicles are included in NHTSA and Honda’s top priority for airbag recalls:

  • 2001-2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001-2002 Honda Civic
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • 2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL
  • 2003 Acura 3.2CL

“NHTSA urges consumers to not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately,” says a warning posted to NHTSA’s airbag recall website in late June.

Honda says it has tried for years to contact the owners of those vehicles to alert them of the danger and to urge them to get their airbags repaired. The alerts include more than 34 million letters and postcard, nearly 6 million e-mails and at least 300,000 texts to warn those impacted by a series of Takata recalls dating back to 2008.

So far, about 70% of those vehicle owners have had their airbags replaced. But roughly 311,000 Honda and Acura vehicles on NHTSA’s airbag recall high-priority list are still on the road. Some customers, including Burdick and the family of Hanif, say they never received any recall notification.

Blumenthal and Markey insist Honda should be doing more especially following news of NHTSA’s lab testing that was released in June. Blumenthal believes dire action is needed because lives are at stake.

Honda has not yet formally responded to the senators’ letter, but the company hasposted videos on its website in its latest effort to warn affected customers.

“Please take immediate action that may save your life or the life of a loved one,” Honda’s senior vice president Bruce Smith says in one of the videos. “If you own one of these vehicles with a defective airbag inflator, please act immediately and only drive the vehicle to a Honda or Acura dealership to have the Takata airbag inflators replaced…the repair is free, quick and urgent.”

For consumers who request one, Honda will provide a free rental car or loaner while it is replacing a defective airbag. The company will also pick up or tow older-model vehicles to a local dealership for airbag replacement at no cost.

While the 2001-2003 Honda and Acuras are at the very top of the government’s priority list for airbag recalls, it’s important to remember at least 70 million other vehicles are also affected. And based on the priority schedule published by NHTSA, many vehicle owners won’t be told they are driving a vehicle with a defective airbag for several more years. To see if your car or truck is currently on the recall list, click here for more detailsand to see the timetable for repairs.