American Honda is recalling a total of 384,220 model year 2003 Accords and Civics and 2003-04 model year Elements to fix a possible faulty ignition interlock lever. The ignition levers have been found to unexpectedly deform in automatic transmission-equipped vehicles, which may roll away should the shift lever not be set in "P" while parked -- possibly resulting in a crash.

So far, the Office of Defects Investigations collected 16 reports of faulty ignition interlocks, while American Honda has received 28 (10 of which resulted in alleged rollaway collisions).

In 2003, Honda recalled its Odyssey, Accord, Acura CL, and Acura TL for a similar component failure. Two years later, Honda recalled its Prelude, Acura TL, and Accord for the same reasons.

ODI has upgraded the situation to an Engineering Analysis to research the breadth and depth of the situation.

Below is the official recall notice:

Vehicle Make / Model: HONDA / ACCORD; HONDA / CIVIC; HONDA / ELEMENT

Model Year(s): 2003; 2003; 2003-2004

Manufacturer: HONDA (AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO.)

Mfr's Report Date: AUG 04, 2010

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V364000 EA09001

NHTSA Action Number: EA09001

Component: ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION Potential Number of Units Affected: 384220

Summary:
HONDA IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2003 HONDA ACCORD, CIVIC TWO AND FOUR DOOR, AND MODEL YEAR 2003-2004 HONDA ELEMENT VEHICLES. THE INTERLOCK LEVER OF THE IGNITION SWITCH MAY UNEXPECTEDLY DEFORM, WHICH CAN ALLOW THE INTERLOCK FUNCTION OF A VEHICLE WITH AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION TO BE DEFEATED.

Consequence:
REMOVAL OF THE IGNITION KEY WHEN THE GEAR SELECTOR OF A VEHICLE WITH AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION HAS NOT BEEN SHIFTED TO THE PARK POSITION CAN ALLOW THE VEHICLE TO ROLL AWAY, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.

Remedy:
DEALERS WILL REMOVE THE ORIGINAL INTERLOCK PIN AND LEVER WITHIN THE IGNITION SWITCH, AND REPLACE THEM WITH NEW, DESIGNED COMPONENTS. THIS SERVICE WILL BE PERFORMED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT SEPTEMBER 29, 2010. OWNERS MAY CONTACT HONDA AT 1-800-999-1009.

Notes:
HONDA SAFETY RECALL NO. R44. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .

Source: NHTSA