Defective Takata airbag blamed for January death in South Carolina: NPR


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The latest person to be killed by Takata’s explosive airbag inflator is believed to be the driver who crashed while driving a 2002 Honda Accord in South Carolina.

Paul Sancya / AP


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Paul Sancya / AP


The latest person to be killed by Takata’s explosive airbag inflator is believed to be the driver who crashed while driving a 2002 Honda Accord in South Carolina.

Paul Sancya / AP

DETROIT – A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an explosive Takata airbag inflator.

Honda said Wednesday that a faulty driver’s airbag exploded in an accident involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company will not give details of the Jan. 9 crash near Charlotte, North Carolina, nor will it identify the person killed.

Honda officials and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inspected the car and parts of the airbag on Wednesday and found that the inflatable had burst, the company said. Deaths are the 19th in the U.S. since 2009 and the 28th in the world caused by improper inflation.

Takata used volatile ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the airbags in the crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air. The explosion could blow up a metal canister and throw shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

The problem caused the largest series of car recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. The U.S. government says more than 11.1 million have not been repaired since last year. About 100 million inflatables have been recalled worldwide.

Most deaths occurred in the United States, but they also occurred in Australia and Malaysia.

Honda said it has shared all the information it has with NHTSA and will continue to cooperate in the latest investigation.

The company said the South Carolina crash deal was revoked in April 2011. Starting in June 2011, the company made more than 100 attempts to reach car owners, including mail notifications, phone calls, emails and even and personal visits, the statement said.

“Our data show that the repair of the recall has never been completed,” the statement said.

The company said that the killed driver was not the registered owner of the Accord, and Honda does not know if the driver knew about the unjustified recall.

The car has changed ownership several times, most recently in October 2020, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said. The company sent a notice of revocation to the current owner on November 17, 2020, Martin said.

Honda says it has adequate supplies of spare inflatable pumps and urges people to make recall repairs, especially on older models.

Drivers can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and entering their 17-digit vehicle identification number.

The recalls brought Japan’s Takata bankrupt and filed criminal charges against the company. It was eventually bought by a Chinese-owned auto parts supplier.


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