Takata air bag inflator ruptures during auto fix, killing man

Tammy Harvey
July 12, 2017

According to a notice [PDF] posted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall was necessitated after Takata determined that certain driver frontal air bag inflators that use calcium sulfate as a desiccant may rupture due to propellant degradation as a result to exposure to humidity.

Honda said a man died in June 2016 in Hialeah, Fla., when an inflator ruptured while he was working inside a 2001 Honda Accord using a hammer.

The company said the man, who was not the owner of the auto, was performing repairs that involved using a hammer while the vehicle's ignition switch was in the "on" position. But it's not clear what the man was doing or what set off the air bag.

Honda (HMC) said Monday the death of an individual in Florida previous year is the 11th fatality connected to defective airbag inflators made by Takata. The company would not release the man's name.

The death from the faulty inflator brings the USA total to 12 and the worldwide total to 17. The Accord in question was one of more than 300,000 un-repaired Honda vehicles still on the road equipped with the defective airbag inflators.

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".

Takata has filed for bankruptcy in the USA and Japan after the largest recall in US history. "That's why government regulators need to step up the pace of figuring out whether all remaining Takata airbag inflators are safe".

The company said it recently learned of the death.

According to Honda, Alpha inflators can have as high as a 50-50 chance of exploding and injuring an occupant. Worldwide, 100 million of the Takata inflators have been recalled. Those models are the 2001 and 2002 Accord and Civic, the 2002 CR-V and Odyssey, the 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL, the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL and the 2003 Pilot.

"Our records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle", Honda's statement said.

Honda urged owners who have received recall notices to get repairs made as soon as possible, especially those with the most unsafe type of inflator.

Scott Caudill, chief operating officer of TK Holdings, Takata's United States unit, said in a court affidavit last month in its bankruptcy filing that the company "faces insurmountable claims" relating to the recalls and owes billions of dollars to automakers. But Honda vastly expanded the recall to cover more than 2 million vehicles by 2011.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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