Honda has confirmed that another person has died as a result of a faulty Takata airbag inflator. The latest fatality brings the Takata airbag death toll to 20 people worldwide.
The death occurred on July 10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The person, whose name and age have not been released, was driving a 2004 Honda Civic. Officials from both Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have confirmed that the inflator blowing apart was the cause of death. Takata airbag inflators have the potential to explode violently and spray metal shrapnel into the cabin if exposed to excessive heat or humidity.
In a statement, Honda said the vehicle was under recall but never received the required repair despite numerous calls to the vehicle’s owners. However, the airbag found in the inspection wasn’t even the original unit. The airbag came from a 2002 Civic and is believed to have been purchased used and installed in the crashed car. The 2002 Honda Civic is also subject to the Takata recall, but because it is older, the ammonium nitrate propellant used in the inflator was likely more degraded. Honda classifies these oldest of recalled Takata inflators as “Alpha Inflators,” and says they pose the greatest threat as they have a rupture rate as high as 50 percent when exposed to hot and humid conditions. Louisiana was previously listed as one of the areas most at risk for inflator ruptures because of its hot and humid climate. Honda continues to urge recall-affected owners—especially owners of older 2001-2003 models—to get the recall repair taken care of free of charge.
Honda says it has been searching salvage yards around the country for recalled Takata inflators and that it has removed more than 100,000 recalled units from the used parts market in the past two years.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver during this difficult time,” Honda said in the statement. The automaker says to visit Media to check your Honda’s recall status, or Media if you own an Acura.
The Takata recall is the largest in U.S. history, covering as many as 46 million airbag inflators and 34 million vehicles of various makes, according to NHTSA. The enormous recall resulted in Takata’s bankruptcy and subsequent sale to Key Safety Systems in November.
Source: Honda, NHTSA
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