Honda confirms 8th fatality from exploded Takata airbag

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) — Honda Motor Co. confirmed an eighth fatal victim of a ruptured Takata Corp. airbag inflator after completing the investigation of a September crash in Los Angeles.

Jewel Brangman was driving a 2001 Honda Civic she had rented in August when the accident occurred. Of the eight deaths in Honda vehicles, seven were in the U.S.

Eleven different manufacturers, under pressure from U.S. regulators, are recalling cars to fix Takata-made inflators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been trying to speed the pace of repairs for a lingering defect that’s now estimated to affect about 34 million airbag inflators.

Automakers and regulators have had trouble reaching every owner because the defect dates back years and many of the cars have changed hands.

Company records show the owners of the car Brangman was driving had never repaired its airbags, even though the vehicle had been recalled multiple times.

The vehicle was part of a 2009 recall, another in 2013 and two campaigns in 2014, Honda said.

“Four mailed notifications of the July 2009 recall were sent to registered owners of this vehicle starting in August 2009,” Honda said. A notice of the 2013 recall was sent to the current registered owner, a San Diego company, the company said.

NHTSA investigators have also concluded the Los Angeles fatality was likely to have been caused by a Takata airbag inflator, the agency said Friday.

“This latest confirmed case underscores the necessity of NHTSA’s actions to ensure that every American vehicle has safe air bags,” Mark Rosekind, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement. “The fact that this was a rental vehicle that had not been remedied is more evidence for why we are seeking authority to prohibit sale or rental of any vehicle with an open safety recall.”

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