The Honda Motor Co. recently issued a recall for its popular Odyssey mom-mobiles due to an ignition switch default. This default allows the ignition key to be removed without the car being shifted into the park position, which increases the risk of rollaway crashes. The New York Times recently estimated that the recall covers over 807,000 vehicles.
Which Specific Models are Recalled?
The Honda Odyssey model years 2003 and 2004 are on the recall list, as well as the Honda Pilot model years 2003 and 2004 and the Acura MDX model years 2003 through 2006. These are models with lots of room to fit kids and their acquired school bags, sports bags, and other accouterments.
The specific default occurs through repeated engine starting ultimately deforming the ignition switch. Considering a busy mom’s schedule of getting to and from work, chauffeuring kids to various after-school activities, and running most family errands, repeated use of the family car is pretty much a given. If a busy mom forgets to put the car in park, usually the ignition key will not be removable. But this default allows the key to be removed. Even if the car is on just a slight incline, the car can roll and cause not just damage to itself, but other cars and people in the vicinity. This can open you up to liability for damages. Considering the costs of family life today, this is an expense that any family doesn’t need.
Honda gave official notice of the recall to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on December 11, 2012, (NHTSA campaign number 12V573000). Notices to owners were sent at the end of February 2013. The site Auto Recalls for Consumers lists a number of complaints made to Honda regarding this defect. While no deaths have been reported, there was at least one leg crushed due to a rolling car. It was not until NHTSA began investigating the complaints that Honda looked into the issue and issued the recall.
In October 2012, the New York Times mentioned the NHTSA investigation in an article detailing another Honda recall. The Times noted that Honda added vehicles to a March 2012 recall relating to faulty headlight wiring and to an ongoing Accord recall about leaking power-steering fluid causing a fire hazard.
Protecting Precious Cargo
If you have a Honda Odyssey or Pilot or Acura MDX, it is still drivable. The caveat is to double check that you have shifted into “park” before going to remove the key. You could also get into the habit of engaging the emergency brake to prevent the car from rolling away as you or your kids try to step out. These steps also protect you from hitting another car or person and opening yourself to being liable for injuries.
You can go to Honda’s owners website and enter your car’s VIN number to determine if it is part of the recall. You can also call American Honda Motor Co., Inc., at 800-999-1009 or the NHTSA’s Auto Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. If you have been injured, our legal team is here to assist you and we will assess your situation with a free consultation.