Two more deaths have been linked to defective Takata Airbags – one death was in the U.S. and the other death occurred in Malaysia. Honda Motor Co. has confirmed the 11th U.S. fatality linked to a ruptured Takata airbag inflator. The victim, a 50-year-old woman, died from injuries sustained in a Sept. 30 crash in Riverside County, Calif., which caused the driver-side Takata airbag inflator in her 2001 Honda Civic to rupture, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Honda.
The victim’s vehicle was among the roughly 313,000 model year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles that NHTSA warned owners in June to stop driving because of a “grave danger” posed by that generation of Takata airbags. That population of vehicles contained Takata inflators that were never replaced under previous recalls and contained a manufacturing defect that elevates the chance that the inflator could rupture in a crash to as much as 50 percent, according to NHTSA.
According to Honda, the 2001 Civic’s inflator was first recalled in 2008 but never repaired despite more than 20 notices mailed to the registered owners of the vehicle. Nearly 70 million Takata inflators in U.S. vehicles either have been or will be recalled through 2019 under a massive recall plan being coordinated by NHTSA. According to the agency, some 11.4 million Takata recalled inflators had been replaced as of Oct. 7, representing about 36 percent of total number of airbags under recall to-date.
The deadly defect has been linked to at least 100 injuries in the U.S. alone and has put Takata under severe financial duress. Takata’s inflator customers have to fled to rival suppliers and its stock price has tanked in the last two years, prompting the supplier to scramble for a buyer. The 11th U.S. death adds to the mounting human costs of what has become the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.
But the U.S. is not alone in the deaths and injuries caused by the defective airbags. At least five more fatalities have been reported globally, according to Reuters. In Malaysia, Honda confirmed that a driver-side airbag inflator ruptured during a fatal crash – the fourth death this year in the Southeast Asian country linked to airbags from supplier Takata Corp.
Takata’s defective airbag inflators have been linked to at least 14 deaths globally so far and more than 100 injuries, and sparked the largest-ever auto recall. About 100 million Takata air bag inflators have been declared defective worldwide.
Lawyers in our firm are handling a number of claims involving the recalled Takata airbags that caused shrapnel-related injuries. As we have previously reported, components of the airbags break off and can cause blunt force trauma or lacerations of occupants. If you have any questions, or you have a case involving these claims, you can contact Chris Glover, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury/Products Liability Section at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com. There is a great deal of additional information relating to this subject, but due to space limitations we couldn’t include all of it in this issue. Chris will be glad to talk with you on all that we have learned.
Sources: Automotive News; Law360.com
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