Honda Confirms Another Death From Takata Airbags

Japanese auto parts company Takata (TKTDF) is recalling an additional 2.7 million airbag inflators in the US, after the company determined they could explode in the event of a crash despite the use of a chemical additive to make sure of their safety.

Honda also is quoted as saying it was "difficult to determine whether the cause of death in this incident was the inflator rupture, or an interaction of the hammer with the deploying air bag".

Honda Motor Company in the U.S. has confirmed another death related to a faulty Takata airbag, but on this occasion the deceased was performing repairs on the 2001 Accord instead of driving it.

The fatality was the 12th in the United States linked to Takata's air bag inflaters, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and underscored the danger still posed by the faulty devices despite a widespread recall of vehicles using them. The company has not been able to inspect the auto and is relying on police photos to make its determination, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said.

It's the 12th US death attributed to the faulty inflators and 17th worldwide, including five in Malaysia. (Nationally, the tally is 45.8 percent.) Takata on Monday recalled another 2.7 million inflators it sold to Ford, Nissan and Mazda. The OEM noted that 12 recall notices were sent since 2009 to the Accord's registered owners.

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Takata notes [PDF] that while it is unaware of any ruptured inflators that use a desiccant in vehicles on the road or in lab testing, analysis of the inflators show a pattern of propellant density reduction over time.

Takata Corp.'s air bag inflators can explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. Owners can go online and subscribe to Honda service manuals and find out proper procedures for many repairs.

The latter happened near Miami, Florida, in June of 2016 and, unfortunately, the airbag the person triggered happened to be a recalled Takata unit, which was filled with ammonium nitrate propellent known to explode violently after being exposed to high humidity.

"Our records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle", Honda's statement said. The individual, who was not the owner of the vehicle, died the next day from injuries.

The company's bankruptcy filings cleared the way for a $1.6-billion takeover of most of Takata's assets by rival Key Safety Systems, which is based in Detroit and owned by a Chinese company.

  • Rita Burton