The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating reports that a defect in certain Honda Accords could prevent the air bags from deploying in a crash.
According to NHTSA documents, the problem with the air-bag control computer model affects some model-year 2008 Accords. The defect causes the air-bag status indicator lamp to illuminate, and the air-bag system is disabled until it is repaired.
The investigation covers about 384,000 Accords, and the federal agency will look into the scope and frequency of the alleged failure. From there, regulators could decide whether a recall is necessary.
NHTSA said it received 19 complaints about the issue, including one from Belleview, Fla., which said the air bag did not deploy when the car hit a concrete wall at about 50 mph. There was one injury in the incident, according to the complaint.
Another complaint, from Long Beach, Calif., said the driver purchased the car new and had never been in an accident when the air-bag indicator light turned on. The driver said the car was only four years old, with fewer than 60,000 miles. A dealer said the cost to replace the unit would be about $455.
In a statement, American Honda Motor Co. said it was aware of the NHTSA action.
“Honda will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process, and we will continue our own internal review of the available information,” the company said.