Man dies when air bag inflator ruptures amid vehicle fix

Lucy Hill
July 12, 2017

Honda Motor Co said Monday it had confirmed an 11th United States death involving one of its vehicles tied to a faulty Takata Corp air bag inflator. The car's ignition switch was on, so the air bag would have been ready in case of a crash, according to Honda. Honda said the hammer triggered the activation of the air bag inflator, which ruptured as the bag was being deployed. In the report, the automaker says police photos show the exploded inflator and metal fragments.

The fatality was the 12th in the United States linked to Takata's air bag inflaters, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and underscored the danger still posed by the faulty devices despite a widespread recall of vehicles using them.

The 2001 Accord reportedly includes one of the more hazardous versions of Takata driver's side airbag inflators, with laboratory testing showing they have up to a 50 per cent chance of rupturing during an accident.

The Associated Press quoted Honda spokesman Chris Martin as having "noted that there is a deceleration sensor that activates the air bags mounted on the wall between the engine and passenger compartment". The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history, involving 42 million vehicles and 69 million air bag inflators. The company added that it had mailed 12 notices about the recall effort over almost seven years to the owners of the vehicle.

US Air Force lieutenant, Stephanie Erdman, was injured in one eye when a defective airbag deployed in her auto during a 2013 crash. USA supplier Key Safety Systems is set to purchase almost all of the company's global assets for $1.59 billion, which is still far short of what the company will ultimately face when all is said and done.

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Honda says its "records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle".

A man was killed Florida by an exploding Takata (file image) air bag inflator, but this death wasn't the result of a crash.

Takata airbags and inflators can explode sending plastic and metal into those sitting in the front seat. Honda says it has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators available to fix all of its recalled vehicles. Owners can go online and subscribe to Honda service manuals and find out proper procedures for many repairs.

US-based Key Safety Systems (KSS) will take over Takata's global assets and operations in the coming months for the sum of $US1.6 billion ($A2.1 billion).

The previous administrator of the fund, or special master, was former FBI Director Robert Mueller III, who has since been tapped to oversee the investigation of alleged interference in the 2016 USA presidential campaign by Russian Federation on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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