Another Death in Texas Caused by Faulty Takata Airbag in a Honda Car
A high school senior was killed when the Honda Civic 2002 she was driving rear-ended a Honda CRV in March this year. The cause of death was the car’s Takata airbag that ruptured upon impact and shrapnel from its inflator cut the teen’s neck and carotid artery. The accident happened at Fort Bend County, Texas. The young woman crashed into the vehicle in front of her while it was waiting to make a left turn. The victim was pronounced dead immediately. County Sheriff Danny Beckwith said that the driver was not speeding and was wearing her seatbelt. Damage to the car was moderate and could not have resulted in death, if not for the exploding air bag.
This incident brings the number of fatalities from ruptured Honda airbags to ten in the United States, nine of these fatalities were in Honda vehicles and one in a Ford. Honda says they had mailed several recall notices to the owners, but the repairs were never done. Honda is currently facing numerous federal and state lawsuits over car crash deaths and injuries due to its defective airbags.
The five-year recall campaign has seen Honda replacing the defective airbag inflators of 54% of its total vehicles for recall, the highest completion rate among US automobile companies. But Honda spokesperson Jeffrey Smith says they are not letting up on their efforts and have even increased the customer relations team handling this issue to twice its size. They have sent over 26.8 million mailers, postcards and emails in addition to 12.8 million direct and automated telephone calls to the owners. They have used social media and targeted ads to reach out to Honda car owners to convince them to have their vehicles repaired.
In spite of these, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said the car companies and Takata have to increase their efforts to find the vehicles to prevent similar tragic events. The NHTSA is ordering automakers that have Takata airbags in their vehicles to achieve 100% completion rate in recalling and replacing the defective air bags.