Monday, 22 October, 2018

Takata air bag inflator ruptures during auto fix, killing man

Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
Orlando Vargas | 11 July, 2017, 07:54

The unnamed person was conducting repairs inside a 2001 Honda Accord on June 18, 2016, in Hialeah when the driver-side airbag deployed. Both air bags had inflated.

Honda Motor Co said Monday it had confirmed an 11th U.S. death involving one of its vehicles tied to a faulty Takata Corp air bag inflator. By this year, the safety agency had extended the recall to cover almost 70 million air bags in 42 million vehicles of many makes and models.

The Japanese air bag maker filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the USA last month, saying that was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty inflators.

Honda released some details of the death on Monday and said it only recently found out about it. Honda said the auto was parked but the ignition switch was on, with the airbags activated. Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, said in an email the company learned of the incident through a legal claim in March. Martin noted that there is a deceleration sensor that activates the air bags mounted on the wall between the engine and passenger compartment.

The company said photos from a local police report indicate the inflator exploded and shot out metal fragments, but it remains unclear if this shrapnel caused the injuries the man died from the next day.

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"The rupture most likely contributed to his death", Martin said.

The 2001 Accord reportedly includes one of the more hazardous versions of Takata driver's side airbag inflators, with laboratory testing showing they have up to a 50 per cent chance of rupturing during an accident.

The vehicle was included in "multiple recalls" as well as a safety campaign related to the specific kind of air bag inflater it used, according to the statement from Honda. Honda says it has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators available to fix all of its recalled vehicles.

The NHTSA said 2001-2003 model Honda and Acura vehicles have as high as a 50 per cent chance of a unsafe air bag inflator rupture in a crash.

"It's essential to safety that high-risk inflators are replaced immediately", the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement. Multiple owners of the vehicle were mailed 12 recall notices over seven years, according to the AP. Records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle.

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