The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conclusively linked another U.S. death to Takata's fatally flawed airbags. This brings the total number of Takata-related deaths to 16, 11 of which have occurred in the U.S. More than 100 injuries have also been blamed on the devices.
The crash took place on September 30, 2016 in Riverside, California. The victim was a 50-year-old woman, who was driving a 2001 Honda Civic.
The truly tragic news is that the car in question had been recalled multiple times since 2008. Honda issued a statement about the incident, which said, in part:
"Since 2008, the vehicle involved in this crash has been included in multiple recalls and a market campaign. More than twenty mailed recall notices were sent over the course of nearly eight years to registered owners of this vehicle. Our records indicate that the recall repair was never completed."
In June, the 2001 Civic was part of a large group of Honda and Acura vehicles targeted by a dire warning from NHTSA. The agency urged owners to stop driving those 300,000 vehicles until they had had their airbag inflators replaced.
That's because the inflators on those vehicles had up to a 50 percent chance of exploding upon deployment. (The risk of other Takata inflators exploding has been estimated at closer to one percent.) NHTSA explained that "Ruptures are far more likely in inflators in vehicles that have spent significant periods of time in areas of high absolute humidity—particularly Florida, Texas, other parts of the Gulf Coast, and Southern California."
The list of makes and models that are prone to such issues includes:
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- 2003 Acura 3.2CL
- 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL
If you own one of these vehicles, please stop driving it immediately until it's been serviced. Honda notes that the repair is free and that it has ample supplies of replacement inflators in stock. For additional information, you're encouraged to visit www.recalls.honda.com or www.recalls.acura.com, or call 888-234-2138.