The number of deaths worldwide associated with Takata’s faulty airbags has risen to 20 after a fatality was reported in an accident in Louisiana in July.
Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed that a Takata airbag inflator explosion was to blame for a fatality in a July 10 crash in Baton Rouge, the company said. Additionally, the incident has brought to light a new problem: salvaged airbags.
Unsurprisingly, the 2004 Honda Civic never received the required recall repair, but the ruptured Takata inflator discovered by investigators wasn’t the original inflator in the bag: it was one from different vehicle.
“The airbag module containing the ruptured inflator was originally installed in a 2002 Honda Civic and is believed to be a salvaged or used part that was installed in this 2004 Civic at an unknown point in its past,” Honda said in its statement.
(Less than half of potentially deadly Takata airbags replaced. For the story, Click Here.)
In the effort to prevent this type of rupture of an affected Takata airbag inflator used as a replacement part in a different Honda vehicle, Honda has been searching salvage yards nationwide for the past two years to find and secure recalled inflators.
This voluntary effort has removed over 100,000 inflators from salvage yards. Honda also has requested that major online auction sites prohibit and stop the sale of affected airbags, Honda added.
American Honda continues to urge owners of Honda and Acura vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls to get their vehicles repaired at authorized dealers as soon as possible. The company reminds that there are more than enough repair kits to make all repairs immediately.
(Click Here for more about Takata’s bankruptcy filings.)
Older vehicles, especially 2001-2003 model year vehicles, have a heightened risk of an airbag inflator rupture and pose the greatest safety risk. Vehicle owners can check their vehicles’ recall status at www.recalls.honda.com for Honda owners or www.recalls.acura.com for Acura owners or by calling their authorized dealer.
In addition to the now 20 fatalities, more than 180 others have been injured by the defective inflators that can explode with too much force sending pieces of plastic and metal into the vehicle cabin.
Nearly all automakers have used at least some of the faulty bags, from niche players like Rolls-Royce and Ferrari to major manufacturers such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Honda. It has been estimated that a quarter of the light duty vehicles in use in the U.S. use Takata airbags.
(To see more about the sale of Takata to Key Safety, Click Here.)
Currently, about 42 million vehicles are or will be recalled accounting for 69 million airbags, as federal regulators are staging their safety campaign, targeting older vehicles first due to a shortage of replacement airbag inflators. Tens of millions of other vehicles are being recalled outside the U.S.