Two Honda models that contain the dangerous Takata air bag inflators.

Two Honda models that contain the dangerous Takata air bag inflators. 

WASHINGTON — New tests on Takata airbag inflators have found that certain model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles have up to a 50% chance of a dangerous rupture during a crash, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alert.

“ … these vehicles are unsafe and need to be repaired immediately,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.”

The models that are affected by the specific defective air bags are the 2001-2003 Honda Civic and Accord; the 2002 Honda CR-V and Odyssey; the 2002-2003 Acura TL; and the 2003 Acura CL and Honda Pilot.

The airbags in these vehicles, according to the NHTSA, contain a manufacturing defect that greatly increases the potential for dangerous rupture during a crash that causes the air bag to deploy. Testing on vehicles with the defective airbags in areas of high humidity — like Florida, Texas, other parts of the Gulf Coast, and Southern California — resulted in rupture rates that at times exceeded 50%.

Affected vehicles were originally recalled between 2008 and 2011. However, when recent reports of ruptures in the recalled vehicles were sent to the NHTSA, the regulator ordered Takata to perform additional ballistic testing on the inflators.

According to Honda, more than 70% of the higher-risk vehicles have already been repaired. Even with those repairs, there are still approximately 313,000 vehicles with the defect still on the roads, Honda stated.

“The air bag inflators in this particular group of vehicles pose a grave danger to drivers and passengers that must be fixed right away,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. "Drivers should visit or contact their local dealer to check whether their vehicle is affected. If it is, they should have the vehicle repaired immediately for free at an authorized dealer. We commend Honda for taking additional actions to get these vehicles repaired.”