"Malfunction of the airbag control module may prevent airbags from deploying in a crash," said NHTSA in its problem description. "The malfunction causes the airbag status/readiness indicator lamp to illuminate and the airbag system remains disabled until repaired."
NHTSA has received 19 complaints, with one crash and one injury reported. No fatalities have been reported.
"One of the reports involved a frontal crash event where the frontal airbags did not deploy," NHTSA said. "The crash resulted in an injury to the driver and lone occupant."
It added: "Consumers report the SRS (supplemental restraint system) control module had to be replaced to correct the condition. Several reports indicated that the SRS module was unable to communicate, thus preventing diagnostic trouble codes from being retrieved.
"An inability of the SRS unit to communicate raises concern about the readiness of the entire supplemental restraints system. As a result, for vehicles with a failed SRS module, some or all of the airbags may be unavailable in a crash warranting deployment."
The federal safety agency has opened a preliminary evaluation into the matter. Such an action sometimes precedes a vehicle recall, but the cars have not been recalled at this point.
It is unclear at this point if the probe involves both the Accord coupe and sedan.
"Honda will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process and we will continue our own internal review of the available information," wrote Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, in response to a query from Edmunds.
Edmunds says: Owners of these cars will have to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their work before taking action. But if you have an immediate concern, it's best to contact your Honda dealer now.