Ninth death linked to Takata

Reuters reports that Honda Motor Co has confirmed that a Takata airbag likely led to the death of a young driver, the ninth death in the world linked to the faulty airbag inflators.

The death, reported by US auto safety authorities in December 2015, is suspected to be the result of an airbag inflator rupture in a July 2015 crash of a Honda Accord.

After an inspection of vehicle components in cooperation with regulators, Honda said it ‘confirmed that the Takata driver’s front airbag inflator ruptured’ and ‘injuries related to this airbag inflator rupture likely resulted in the tragic death of the underage driver.’

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the death occurred in July 2015 in a recalled, used 2001 Honda Accord coupe near Pittsburgh. The unidentified teen-aged driver was hospitalised after a Takata airbag ruptured and died several days later.

Reuters had previously reported that the death involved a 13-year-old boy who was in an early morning crash on 22 July 2015 after he apparently took the keys without permission from a parent and got behind the wheel.

Honda said the car’s prior owner first got a recall notice in 2010. Honda mailed a new recall notice on 21 July 2015, one day before the crash, to the new owner.

All of the nine reported airbag deaths, eight in the US and one in Malaysia, have been in Honda vehicles.