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DETROIT (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co said on Monday it was recalling more than 428,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada because of a defect that could cause the cars to roll away if they are parked incorrectly.
The Honda recall covers Accord, Civic and Element models from the 2003 and 2004 model years in the United States. That recall includes 384,220 vehicles.
A parallel safety recall in Canada covers those models and some Acura 1.7ELs. There are about 44,000 vehicles under recall in Canada, most of them Accords and Civics.
Honda said that in some situations a part known as the ignition interlock lever could fail.
That device is intended to keep drivers from removing their key from the ignition when the vehicle has not been put in park. If the ignition switch fails, that could allow vehicles to roll away when parked incorrectly, causing accidents.
Honda said it would begin notifying consumers of the recall in September.
The safety recall started with an inquiry from U.S. safety regulators in September 2008.
In early 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration upgraded its inquiry of the potential defect for the 2002 model year Accord, Honda's best-selling vehicle.
At that time, Honda had received reports of 10 crashes related to the defect. NHTSA said consumers had reported 11 crashes to the safety agency for the same problem.
One woman said she had almost been run over by her car when it was parked in her driveway, accord to NHTSA records.
In early July, Honda and NHTSA representatives met to discuss the situation and on July 29 Honda determined that it had a safety defect with the ignition switch that demanded a recall, according to the records.
Honda had two other recalls for related problems in 2003 and again in 2005, NHTSA records show.
Reporting by Kevin Krolicki, editing by Matthew Lewis