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Lawsuit, Investigation Over Orlando Woman’s Airbag Death

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will grill Takata officials Thursday about the company’s airbag that appears to have killed an Orlando woman when it exploded. The woman’s family filed a lawsuit Monday as it conducts its own investigation.

The suit from the estate of Hien Tran alleges Honda and Takata are responsible for her death last month.

Allegations of Negligence

Tran family Attorney Henry Didier says, with millions of recalls, proving the airbags are defective should be easy. The key now is proving negligence. “And that is where our discovery in this case is going to focus,” he says, “on getting to the bottom of what they knew and when and why this car remained on the road for so long.”

Didier says work to get U.S. records is already underway – but overseas discovery could take months. Didier adds that political inquiries like this week’s Senate hearing could impact the local suit.

He points to two similar deaths five years before Tran’s. “One of the things that obviously comes from that factual pattern is: how do you explain why a fatal defect like this is allowed to continue to exist in the customer cars?”

Companies Respond

Takata denies knowing enough about the airbag problems in time to prevent the deaths of Tran and others.

Honda is recalling select vehicles. A related company statement says, “We stand behind the safety and quality of our products.”

Recalled Vehicles

Information on Honda recalls, including the quoted statement, is here.

An updated recall list from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is here. The list as of 2 p.m. ET 11/18/14 is below. Florida cars are especially at risk due to the state’s humid climate.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2004 – Ranger
2005 – 2006 GT
2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
2006 – Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2007 Mazda6
2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
2004 – 2005 MPV
2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2004 – 2005 Lancer
2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Baja
2003 – 2005 Legacy
2003 – 2005 Outback
2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra


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