A photo of a 2001 Honda Civic LX Coupe, one of the vehicles part of the Takata airbag recalls. Credit: Honda.
A 17th death in the U.S. is being attributed to faulty Takata airbags. Earlier this month, American Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that a defective Takata driver’s airbag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic on Aug. 20, 2020, in Mesa, AZ. The vehicle’s driver sustained injuries from the ruptured inflator and subsequently died. In its statement, Honda said, “our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of the driver.“
Honda says it’s now confirmed 15 deaths and more than 200 injuries in the U.S. related to Takata airbag driver’s front inflator ruptures in the field. In all, the faulty airbags are blamed for 17 deaths in the US. Recalls remain ongoing. On the NHTSA recall website, it lists the total recall completion rate at 77% (38,160, 343) as of August 25, 2020, with 23% (11, 127,046) more to go.
In the most recent accident, Honda reports that the joint inspection with the NHTSA confirmed that a defective Takata passenger’s airbag inflator ruptured during the crash. Passenger airbag inflators are mounted inside the dashboard, and this rupture ignited a small fire in that area. No passenger was seated in the front seat during the crash, and no injuries have been attributed to the passenger’s airbag inflator rupture.
2002 Honda Civic
The 2002 Honda vehicle involved in this crash had been under recall since December 2011 for replacement of the original Takata driver’s frontal airbag inflator. The original Takata passenger’s frontal airbag inflator was also included in a June 2014 safety improvement campaign that transitioned into a recall in November 2014. Starting in January 2012, more than 15 mailed recall notices were sent over the course of eight years to registered owners of this vehicle before the August 2020 crash.
In addition, Honda says it made numerous phone calls in an attempt to reach owners of this vehicle and physically visited the address of the current owner, leaving recall information attached to the home’s front door. The automaker says its records indicate that the recall repair was never completed.
The driver killed in the crash was not the registered vehicle owner and Honda does not know if the driver was aware of the unrepaired recalls affecting this vehicle. Honda is sharing its information with the NHTSA and says it will continue to cooperate with the agency throughout the investigation of this inflator rupture.
Takata Recall Repairs
Honda says it currently has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators to complete the free repairs for all recalled Honda and Acura models in the United States.
In a special note Honda asks media pass on to Honda and Acura owners, Honda says:
“American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible. Older vehicles, especially 2001-2003 model year vehicles, have a heightened risk of an airbag inflator rupture and pose the greatest safety risk. Vehicle owners can check their vehicles’ recall status at www.recalls.honda.com for Honda owners or www.recalls.acura.com for Acura owners or by calling their authorized dealer.”
There are still millions of vehicles on the roads with defective airbags. If you are not sure about whether your airbag could be deadly, check out our special coverage of Takata airbag recalls.
As we’ve previously reported, Honda is implementing a new front passenger airbag expected to make it way into the lineup beginning in 2020. The next-generation airbags were designed by a U.S-led Honda engineering team.
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