The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that an 11th death has been linked to defective Takata airbags. In September, a 50-year-old woman died from injuries sustained in a head-on collision in Riverside County, California. She was driving a 2001 Honda Civic that had been recalled to replace the Takata airbags in her vehicle.
According to Honda, the vehicle had been involved in numerous recalls since 2008, and the company had sent the car’s owner more than 20 recall notices. Honda could not confirm if the woman had received the notices, as she did not purchase the car until 2015. Records indicate, however, that repairs were never made.
The woman’s vehicle was also included in a subset of vehicle models that the NHTSA considered to be extremely dangerous. In June, the regulator advised 313,000 Honda and Acura owners to stop driving the vehicles and have them repaired immediately.
Data suggested that these vehicles had as much as a 50 percent chance that the Takata inflators would explode if involved in an accident. Studies indicate that the chemical used in Takata airbags inflators, ammonium nitrate, can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity. This can cause them to explode more violently than standard airbags and discharge pieces of metal throughout a vehicle.
More than 69 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled in what is easily considered to be the largest auto recall in U.S. history. As many as 16 people have been killed worldwide, including five recent deaths in Malaysia. If you have been injured or if someone you love has been killed as a result of a defective Takata airbag, do not hesitate to contact our product liability lawyers to determine if you may be entitled to compensation.