By Shereen Siewert
A class action lawsuit filed last week in California claims Honda Civic 2016-2018 models with CVT transmissions might not be in “park” when indicated, making them dangerous.
These vehicles can roll away when the driver exits the vehicle, causing crashes and injuries, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit is relying partially on complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that reveal a “multitude of rollaways, accidents and injuries,” according to court documents.
In 2016, Honda recalled about 350,000 Honda Civic models and tried to fix the defect with a software update to the vehicle’s stability assist system.
But the lawsuit’s plaintiffs allege the update did not resolve the problem, and Honda continued to manufacture, market and sell defective vehicles. Nearly 1 million defective vehicles are currently on roadways, being driven by unsuspecting owners, the lawsuit alleges.
Heather Floyd, the main plaintiff in the cases, said she was in the driveway of her Bluff City, Tenn. home on July 14, 2017, cleaning out the back seat of her parked 2017 Honda Civic when the car began rolling backward with Floyd inside. The car, which was not running and was in “park,” smashed into a neighbor’s tree, badly damaging the car and the tree, Floyd said.
Floyd was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, according to court documents.
Three days later, Floyd contacted Honda’s customer service department. Initially, the agent Floyd spoke with was helpful and offered to have expert tests conducted on the vehicle and cover her damages, Floyd said.
But, Floyd alleges, that all changed when she asked Honda to buy back her vehicle and pay for any increase in her insurance premiums resulting from the crash. In a follow up call, Honda denied Floyd’s claim.
The class action suit alleges Honda knew about the danger, but did nothing to warn vehicle owners or potential buyers about the defect. Floyd’s lawyers also say Honda failed to implement alternative designs that could have prevented rollaway incidents.
The lawsuit is seeking yet-to-be-determined monetary damages and is asking that Honda stop “concealing the existence of the defect” in their future marketing and sales of the affected vehicles.
Calls to Honda’s legal department were not immediately returned.
Photo: Heather Floyd says this picture of her Honda Civic shows damage from hitting a tree after the car rolled backward while the ignition was off and the car was in “park.”