Honda is confirming another Takata air bag related injury in one of its vehicles. It involves a faulty Takata inflator that exploded when a 2003 model Honda Civic crashed in Florida on March 20. The driver was injured when the air bag exploded and a piece of metal shot from the bag into the driver’s neck, according to police and hospital reports.
The model involved in the March crash is one of millions recalled due to the defective passenger front air bag inflators, which can explode and send shrapnel flying. Honda says it had sent to notices to the owner before the crash occurred, the first one in September.
So far, Takata airbags have been linked to six deaths worldwide, all of them involving Honda vehicles, although multiple automakers who also used air bags supplied by Takata have issued massive recalls as well. Ten automakers have now recalled more than 17 million vehicles in the United States alone for the issue.
On March 19th, Honda added another 100,000 vehicles to its U.S. recall. It included 88,549 Pilot vehicles from the 2008 model year. No 2008 Pilot models had been included in previous recalls. With this expansion, Honda’s recall involves a total of approximately 5.5 million vehicles.
Meanwhile, late last week came news the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still fining Takata daily for failing to comply with the agency’s request for information. The NHTSA has been fining the Japanese air bag maker $14,000 a day since Feb. 22 and to date the fine sits around $700,000.
“We’re still fining them,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in an interview Thursday, saying NHTSA had a productive meeting with Takata last month but hasn’t gotten enough cooperation. “The issue that we’ll start talking about in a few weeks is what are the next steps.”
One thing the NHTSA has already done is order Takata to hold on to all of its inflators for testing purposes.
Back in February, Takata said it had “provided the agency with almost 2.5 million pages of documents to date. Since the special orders were issued, we have been in regular communication with NHTSA staff regarding our ongoing production of documents in response … We remain fully committed to cooperating with NHTSA in the interests of advancing auto safety for the driving public.”
According to Rosekind, Takata has tested about 15,000 air bag inflators, “and we still don’t have root cause.” It’s a big issue because figuring out what went wrong is key to making sure it doesn’t happen again in replacement air bags.