Hawaii has become the first state to sue Honda and Takata over millions of faulty airbags, alleging in a lawsuit filed Friday in 1st Circuit Court that the companies made, supplied and used airbags that they knew posed serious dangers to drivers and passengers.

The state Office of Consumer Protection, headed by Stephen Levins, is demanding $10,000 per violation. Given 70,000 vehicles with Takata airbags have been sold in Hawaii, that means Honda and Takata could each be facing $700 million in penalties in addition to restitution.

The lawsuit also wants Honda to do a “meaningful campaign” to let the public know about the problem, Levins told reporters at a news conference Friday in Honolulu.

Attorney Stephen Levins Takata airbag recall presser1. 13 may 2016
Stephen Levins, executive director of the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection, points to photographs of a Takata airbag unit after it exploded. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“This is a situation that’s intolerable and we’re not going to put up with it,” he said.

At least 12 people have been killed and more than 100 hurt by the faulty airbags, which can explode and send shrapnel through the vehicle, Levins said.

No one in Hawaii has been injured to date, Levins said. But he added that people in the islands are particularly at risk.

The lawsuit says Takata decided years ago to switch to ammonium nitrate to inflate its airbags since it’s less expensive. High heat and humidity can make airbags more likely to malfunction in a crash.

Takata and Honda could not be reached for comment Friday. Takata has told the New York Times that it is cooperating with all investigations into its conduct and is ramping up its production of replacement parts. The paper reported that other airbag makers are also helping to supply parts.

Levins said Hawaii dealerships are responsible for replacing the faulty airbags, but the replacement parts are limited.

Honda is not the only company that’s recalling vehicles, but is Takata’s biggest customer. Honda has recalled 51 million vehicles, and the overall total in the U.S. is now about 64 million, according to the Times.

Levins urged vehicle owners in Hawaii to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website or call their dealer to find out if their car is subject to a recall, to request the repairs and seek a loaner vehicle from the dealer while the airbag is being replaced.

Read the full lawsuit below.

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