Honda confirms 16th U.S. death linked to Takata airbags

A file picture shows a general view of the Takata facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. A Takata airbag defect has been linked to 16 deaths in the United States. File Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/EPA

March 30 (UPI) — Honda confirmed the 16th U.S. death related to the rupture of faulty Takata airbag inflators, including two in Ford cars.

The U.S. deaths have included 14 in Honda vehicles and two occurring in Ford vehicles.

The first new death confirmed since 2017 occurred in a 2002 Honda Civic in Arizona in 2018, the Japanese automaker said in a news release Friday.

“The driver killed in this crash, who was the current owner, purchased the vehicle less than three months prior to the incident,” Honda said in a statement. “There is no requirement that sellers, new owners or any other parties inform Honda of a change of ownership, and Honda was not made aware of the ownership change at the time of the crash. Thus, Honda was not able to send any recall notices to the new owner before the tragic event.”

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Worldwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported at least 24 deaths and 300 injuries.

The recall is the largest in U.S. history, involving 19 vehicle manufacturers and approximately 46 million Takata air bag inflators in an estimated 34 million vehicles in the United States alone, the NHTSA said.

Long-term exposure to humidity can break down the propellant in the inflators, which can cause the propellant to burn too quickly and create too much pressure on the inflators, NHTSA data show.

The NHTSA added that “in extreme cases the inflator explodes, shooting shrapnel toward vehicle occupants.”

Automakers urge owners affected by the Takata recall to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible, especially older vehicles, which have a higher risk of an airbag inflator rupture.

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