Yet another U.S. death has been blamed on defective Takata airbags. Honda Motor Company’s North American unit and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently confirmed that a ruptured airbag inflator of Takata Corp. that was in a Honda Civic caused the death of another driver during last summer (2017).
The 2004 model vehicle involved in a crash in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was under recall but had not yet received the repair, the company said. Honda added that the ruptured inflator in the vehicle was not the original one installed at the factory but, rather, was from a 2002 Civic which had been placed in the 2004 Civic in Baton Rouge. Honda did not disclose whether the installation occurred at a dealership or third-party garage. The inflator appears to have been one of the most dangerous types made by Takata and part of the original safety equipment in 2001-2003 Hondas. Subsequent tests have shown they have a 50% chance of blowing apart in a crash.
Ordered in 2014 by the NHTSA, the Takata airbag recall is the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history. The NHTSA estimates that nearly 70 million inflators in about 42 million vehicles from as many as 19 automakers are, or will be, under recall in the U.S. by 2020.
Upon deployment, the defective inflators can blast shrapnel into the passenger compartment, threatening the lives of driver and passengers. Tragically, the inflators have been linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide, 11 of which (so far) have happened in the U.S. More than 200 Americans have reported serious injuries, as well. The worst part is that, in many of these instances, the airbags were deployed as a result of minor collisions. Normally, drivers would have been able to walk away from those types of fender-benders unharmed.
Owners of BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Subaru vehicles may have cars, trucks, and SUVs that have defective Takata airbags. Additionally, the largest percentage of dangerous Takata airbags is in certain older Honda and Acura vehicle models, including:
- 2001 and 2002 Honda Civic
- 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL
- 2003 Acura 3.2 CL.
These models are equipped with the front airbag inflators that were the first to be recalled. Honda urges owners of any of these vehicles to ONLY drive them to a dealer for immediate repair.
When facing the largest recall in U.S. history, consumers must take immediate action to replace these inflators as soon as possible. If you are unable to drive or are afraid to, Honda will tow your vehicle to the nearest dealer free of charge and provide you with a free loaner vehicle while your car is being fixed.
Owners of all cars subject to the Takata Airbag Recall can check to see if their cars have been recalled by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and entering in their 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN).
If you or a family member has been injured by a defective Takata inflator, please contact the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm by filling out our online contact form or call our toll-free number: (800) 444-5000.