Honda Confirms 11th US Death From Faulty Takata Airbag

Violet Tucker
July 12, 2017

The company says it's the 11th confirmed death in the US associated with Takata's defective inflators. The individual, who was not the owner of the vehicle, died the next day from injuries.

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. It's worth noting that The Associated Press cites Honda spokesperson Chris Martin, who said "The rupture most likely contributed to his death".

The company did not release the name of the man out of respect for his family, but confirmed that he was not the car's owner and he was working on the vehicle at a private residence.

"It is hard to determine whether the cause of death in this incident was the inflator rupture, or an interaction of the hammer with the deploying airbag", Honda said. An autopsy found that the cause of death were the metal and plastic fragments that cut her neck from the ruptured air bag. Honda said the hammer triggered the activation of the air bag inflator, which ruptured as the bag was being deployed.

The auto company said the vehicle's ignition switch was on, so the air bag would have been ready.

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All of the children were under age 10, and Martinez's husband, whose name hasn't yet been released, was in his mid-30's. Neighbors said Martinez was distraught over her father's death, but otherwise seemed perfectly normal.

Takata Corp.'s air bag inflators can explode with too much force, hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers.

Takata airbags and inflators can explode sending plastic and metal into those sitting in the front seat. Over 42-million vehicles from more than a dozen automakers have been recalled due to defective Takata airbag inflators. Those models are the 2001 and 2002 Accord and Civic, the 2002 CR-V and Odyssey, the 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL, the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL and the 2003 Pilot. The incident occurred in Hialeah, Florida.

Of the deaths linked to Takata's inflators, 16 took place in Honda vehicles since May 2009, including five in Malaysia using a different type of Takata inflator, while one death occurred in a Ford Motor Co vehicle in SC in December 2015.

Green, who teaches at Harvard, has served as a mediator in many major cases, including the US Microsoft antitrust case, and now serves as a Justice Department monitor overseeing the implementation of billions of dollars in consumer relief linked to settlements with banks stemming from the 2007-2009 financial crisis. But Honda vastly expanded the recall to cover more than 2 million vehicles by 2011.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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