Faulty Takata Airbags Responsible for Eighth U.S. Death
In December, a teen boy was identified as the eighth death resulting from faulty Takata airbags that use ammonium nitrate. This marks the ninth death world-wide associated with the airbags. A Honda vehicle was involved in every death.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was notified about the death in early December 2015 by a lawyer representing the victims family.
The 13-year-old was driving a used 2001 Honda Accord in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, on July 20, 2015 when the vehicle went off the road and hit a fallen tree. The boy died from his injuries a few days later in a local hospital.
The vehicle was included in the massive recall of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags. Honda has stated that a recall notice was sent to the previous owner of the vehicle in 2010. Another notice was sent on July 21, the day before the accident.
The boys death has tentatively been attributed to a defective airbag. The NHTSA intends to examine the car in order to come to a definitive conclusion about the cause of death.
Massive Airbag Recalls
Approximately 19 million vehicles produced by 12 automakers have been recalled in what quickly became the largest and most complicated automotive recall in U.S. history.
After recent testing that resulted in explosions of several passenger side airbags, additional affected vehicles will be added to the recall. Those included are:
- 2005-2008 Mazda 6
- 2002-2004 Honda CR-V
- 2005-2008 Subaru Legacy and Outback
The faulty airbags are made with ammonium nitrate inflators that are designed to explode and be contained within a metal container in order to inflate the airbags. However, when exposed to prolonged humid conditions, the chemical deteriorates and explodes violently causing serious injury and death, even in low-impact collisions.