It’s been five months since a Pennsylvania teenager died after he crashed a recalled 2001 Honda Accord. It’s only now that federal investigators say his death may be linked to Takata air bags that explode. What’s more, there are still a lot of unanswered questions in the case, including why the 13-year-old was at the wheel in the first place and why Honda still hasn’t reportedly had a chance to inspect the vehicle yet.
The accident happened in June near Pittsburgh and the NHTSA says it only learned of the accident last week when a lawyer for the boy’s family contacted the agency. Police say he drove off the side of the road, down an embankment, and into a wooded area before hitting a tree. The unidentified teenaged driver was hospitalized after a Takata airbag ruptured. He died several days later.
Honda says it’s working to determine the cause of the death. The company says it sent the prior owner a recall notice in 2010 and that it mailed a new one out on July 21, just one day before the crash.
If it turns out the air bag is the cause of the teen’s death, it would mark the 8th death linked to Takata inflators in the U.S.
This week, the NHTSA reported that recall efforts to fix faulty air bags are speeding up. In the two-week period ending December 4, just over 950,000 vehicles have been repaired. The agency also announced that it’s named John Buretta, a former official in the Justice Department’s criminal division, to serve as independent monitor overseeing the recall efforts.
An updated list of makes, models and model years affected by the Takata inflator recalls is available at www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/takatalist.html.