A teen boy became the eighth death in the United States linked to faulty Takata airbags known to explode violently. It marks the ninth death internationally.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was notified about the fatality in December by an attorney representing the victims family.

According to the NHTSA, a 13-year-old boy was driving a used 2001 Honda Accord coupe near Pittsburgh, P.A., when his car ran off the highway into an embankment and struck a tree. The Takata airbag in the vehicle exploded and the boy was taken to a local hospital, where he died a few days later.

The NHTSA has preliminarily determined that the fatality was caused by the ruptured airbag and will be investigating the situation further.

Takata airbags use an ammonium nitrate propellant to create a small explosion which inflates the airbag. When exposed to humid climates for prolonged periods of time, the propellant can degrade, causing its metal container to explode and send metal shrapnel flying throughout the vehicle.

The defect has led to a recall of more than 19 million vehicles produced by 12 automakers in the United States, making this the largest and most complicated automotive recall in U.S. history.

The vehicle in the most recent death was included in that recall. Honda reportedly sent a recall notice to the former owner of the vehicle in 2010. It then sent another on July 21, 2015, one day before the fatal crash.

After additional vehicle testing, the NHTSA has expanded the recall to include several hundred thousand additional vehicles, including:

  • 2002-2004 Honda CR-V
  • 2005-2008 Subaru Outback and Legacy
  • 2005-2008 Mazda6

If you or someone you love was injured due to a defective product like a Takata airbag, contact the product liability lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan today to schedule your free legal consultation.