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12 July 2017, 12:39 | Frank Carlson
Man dies when air bag inflator ruptures amid car repair
Another person has died as a result of an exploding Takata airbag, though in this case the auto involved wasn't even in a crash. A medical examiner ruled his death accidental due to head trauma, according to a Hialeah police report. Honda says "Twelve mailed recall notices were sent over the course of almost seven years to registered owners of this vehicle prior to the June 2016 incident".
It's the 12th USA death attributed to the faulty inflators and 17th worldwide, including five in Malaysia.
"For years now, Takata has told the public that their line of air bag inflators with moisture absorbent was safe".
Multiple owners of the vehicle were mailed 12 recall notices over seven years.
Honda spokesman Chris Martin said the man had taken apart the car's center console and was using a hammer to fix something when the airbag exploded and sprayed out metal shrapnel.
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. By this year, the safety agency had extended the recall to cover almost 70 million air bags in 42 million vehicles of many makes and models. When it did deploy, the faulty propellant ruptured the inflator and, according to The Associated Press, "shot out fragments".
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The vehicle was included in "multiple recalls" as well as a safety campaign related to the specific kind of air bag inflater it used, according to the statement from Honda.
In January, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to its handling of the air bag defects and agreed to pay a US$1 billion (S$1.39 billion) fine.
Honda Motor Company in the US has confirmed another death related to a faulty Takata airbag, but on this occasion the deceased was performing repairs on the 2001 Accord instead of driving it.
The NHTSA said 2001-2003 model Honda and Acura vehicles have as high as a 50 per cent chance of a risky air bag inflator rupture in a crash. The twist this time, however, is that the incident didn't occur during a crash, but while the vehicle was in a shop being repaired.
Of the deaths linked to Takata's inflators, 16 took place in Honda vehicles since May 2009, including five in Malaysia using a different type of Takata inflator, while one death occurred in a Ford Motor Co vehicle in SC in December 2015.
"On average, more than 500 recalled Honda and Acura vehicles are receiving estimates and triggering notifications through this system every day", Honda wrote.
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