Takata Airbag Blamed for a Death in a Honda Being Repaired

Takata Airbag Blamed for a Death in a Honda Being Repaired

- in World Biz

“This latest tragedy is a reminder of the serious nature of this recall,” a spokesman for the safety agency said in a statement. “It’s essential to safety that high-risk inflaters are replaced immediately.”

The Airbag in Your Car Could Explode. This Is What You Should Do About It.

Defective airbags made by Takata have been tied to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States alone. The ensuing recall — the largest in automotive history — has turned out to be messy, confusing and frustrating for car owners.

Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, said in an email the company learned of the incident through a legal claim in March. Honda determined that the airbag had ruptured and notified the safety agency, the automaker said.

The car was included in “multiple recalls” as well as a safety campaign related to the specific kind of airbag inflater it used, according to the statement from Honda. The company added that it had mailed 12 notices about the recall effort over nearly seven years to the owners of the vehicle.

“Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed on this vehicle,” Honda’s statement said.

The problems with Takata’s airbags emerged in 2008, when Honda first recalled 4,000 vehicles — including the 2001 Accord model that killed the person in Florida — that used Takata airbag parts. But Honda vastly expanded the recall to cover more than two million vehicles by 2011. By this year, the safety agency had extended the recall to cover nearly 70 million airbags in 42 million vehicles of many makes and models.

Takata’s airbag system is particularly susceptible to moisture and temperature fluctuations that over time can degrade the propellant used to deploy the airbag, according to federal regulators.

In January, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to its handling of the airbag defects and agreed to pay a $1 billion fine. Last month, the company filed for bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell its assets to a competitor.

Takata representatives in New York did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

The disclosure of the latest death came as a federal judge appointed a law professor, Eric Green, to supervise distribution of the fine imposed on Takata after its guilty plea. That fine includes a $25 million criminal penalty, $125 million in payments to individuals affected by the faulty airbags and $850 million for auto manufacturers who used Takata devices, according to a court filing.

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